MARK BOWER is urging Guiseley not to concern themselves with points permutations or the fortunes of other sides as they aim to take a giant leap towards safety this Easter.
The 18th-placed Lions, currently four points above the side occupying the final National League relegation place in Boreham Wood, are seven games without a win heading into tomorrow’s ‘six-pointer’ at the side just above them in the table in Southport.
The jostling for position in the bottom half is likely to be intense over the Easter period, with just six points separating seven teams from three-from-bottom FC Halifax to 16th-placed Chester, who Guiseley welcome on Bank Holiday Monday.
But Bower, despite his side’s recent run, is keeping calm and concerning himself with what he can control.
He said: “A lot of teams are now involved at the bottom, with a couple on good runs as well.
“Torquay are on a good run at the minute and Halifax have had good runs this season and Altrincham had a good result at the weekend.
“Teams down there are capable of getting results and we can’t worry about points targets or what other people are doing.
“It’s very tight and with two games in three days, if you have a good run at it and get a good points return, it can make such a massive difference.
“We aren’t on the best run, results-wise. But performances have been good enough to suggest we have enough to get us the wins that we need.
“Looking back over the past six games, five have been against teams in the top six in the league, so it’s been a tough run and a case of drawing rather than winning.
“But if we perform to good levels, we feel we will have enough to get the points we need.”
On his side’s Easter schedule, he added: “It will tough. Southport have had a good run this season and Chester are a big club at this level.
“But there’s definitely no panic. The performances against the likes of Grimsby and Tranmere have shown we are more than capable and we were well in the game against Dover on Saturday. And if we’d put one or two chances away, it could have made a big difference.
“We probably haven’t had the rub of the green in the past few weeks. But if the lads keep performing to the best of their abilities, that sort of thing will change.
“We have some decent wins at times this season, but never managed to string three or four together like some of the other teams.
“But I suppose we have kept chipping away and are in a position where a couple of wins can make a massive difference and won’t have us too far away.”
Adam Smith, Tom Craddock and Oli Johnson boosted their fitness levels in a friendly at Ossett Albion and are available this weekend.
Bower said: “It puts us in a better position for the weekend, so we have got a good squad to pick from for Saturday and Monday.
“We have a stronger squad than last year, so maybe it will be a case of bringing in fresh legs on Monday.”
Halifax host Altrincham in a big game at the bottom end of the league ladder tomorrow (12.45pm).
SECOND-FROM-BOTTOM Harrogate Railway have secured the services of strike duo Amar Purewal and Paul Beesley until the end of the season.
Beesley signed on dual registration terms from Harrogate Town prior to Monday night’s 2-1 Evo-Stik First Division North defeat to Burscough, making his debut late on. The striker – an Under-21s coach at Town – has been sidelined since a pre-season knee ligament injury.
Purewal has extended his loan deal from Darlington 1883, but the Quakers can recall the striker at 24 hours notice. Ossett Town’s win over New Mills on Tuesday put Railway five points behind in the survival race but boss Lee Ashforth remains defiant.
Ashworth, whose side visit Mossley tomorrow, said: “We are getting the right type of players on the pitch that can win games. We just need to be mentally capable of getting a result. It’s going to be an interesting run in. Realistically, it’s now a two-horse race between us and Ossett.”
Ossett Town go to Scarborough Athletic and Ossett Albion welcome second-placed Spennymoor. Farsley Celtic, whose play-off hopes took a blow last weekend, face a key home game against high-flying Glossop North End. Brighouse visit easybeats New Mills.
In the Premier, 10th-placed Frickley Athletic, who have extended Bailey Gooda’s loan for the rest of the season from Barnsley, welcome lowly Colwyn Bay.
TADCASTER ALBION boss Billy Miller is hoping that his side’s midweek League Cup exertions have not taken too much out of the tank ahead of tomorrow’s vital NCEL Premier home game with high-flying rivals Cleethorpes Town, writes LEON WOBSCHALL.
The Brewers trail leaders Handsworth Parramore by two points with a game in hand ahead of tomorrow’s action – after a far from straight-forward 2-1 after-extra-time win at battling Grimsby Borough in the fourth-round of the League Cup.
An Adam Baker goal secured Taddy’s passage, but plenty of energy was expended along the way, with Miller’s side focusing on rest and recuperation ahead of their weekend appointment with Cleethorpes, on their coattails in the table.
Miller said: “We need to recover now.
“Extra-time is not really any good for us but they (Cleethorpes) played (on Wednesday night) so at least we will have played 24 hours before them.
“If Grimsby rolled over, which they didn’t by any stretch of the imagination, it gives you a false pretence so it was probably a good game for us leading into Saturday.
“It could have gone either way at one stage, they matched us and worked hard.
“It was a real tough test for us.
“It was a nice welcome break from the league but our attention is now on Saturday.”
Elsewhere tomorrow, relegation-threatened duo Pontefract Colls and Liversedge welcome Bridlington and Rainworth respectively.
Nostell, also in considerable strife in the drop zone, visit Armthorpe while Thackley head to Athersley Rec. Garforth travel to Staveley.
Activity in Division One sees runaway leaders Hemsworth play host to Rossington, as Wayne Benn’s side seek to get back to normal service after last weekend’s shock loss at AFC Emley.
Emley, in fourth spot and four points behind second-placed AFC Mansfield, head to Grimsby Borough.
Selby entertain Worsbrough Bridge and Knaresbrough can do Emley a favour if the can manage to pick up something against Mansfield.
Glasshoughton visit Teversal, while Eccleshill host Shirebrook.