Friendship on hold as Guiseley seek first victory

Terry Kennedy.
Terry Kennedy.
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IT MAY be a case of friends reunited for Marcus Bignot tomorrow – but the joint Guiseley manager is not planning on rolling out the welcome mat for the arrival of former club AFC Telford United at Nethermoor.

Bignot is good friends with Bucks boss Gavin Cowan and on friendly terms with several others involved at the club.

Marcus Bignot.

Marcus Bignot.

Yet the firm focus tomorrow is on taking care of business.

Two games into the new National League North season and Bignot and fellow co-manager Russ O’Neill have been left to reflect on two losses, if contrasting ones, to Chorley and Boston, with the pair understandably keen to get their ball rolling and register the first competitive wins of their tenure.

On the visit of Telford, Bignot told the YEP: “I am looking forward to the game personally and will see some old friends. But the most important thing for me is getting three points.

“I know Gav Cowan really well and had him when we won the title two seasons ago at Solihull Moors. He was player-coach and my old captain as well.

Louie Swain.

Louie Swain.

“Darryl Knights is also there and was my goalkeeping coach and I also played for the club.”

Despite Guiseley’s second successive reverse at home to Chorley on Tuesday evening, Bignot saw positive signs following on from the 1-0 weekend loss at Boston in the Lions’ curtain-raiser and hopes that the progression can extend to another promising performance, allied to the first points of the season tomorrow.

He added: “Inside that dressing room, there are no heads down and we know we are going in the right direction.

“There is a lot of positivity and the character and mentality of this group will be that we go again on Saturday. We are going to get stronger physically and mentally and as we play together as a group.

“Our understanding of the game will come together.

“All that was missing on Tuesday was the final third and that’s the hardest part in football. Getting that bit of quality in the final third. If they bring what they brought on Tuesday, hopefully we will see our fortunes change.

“We got a reaction on Tuesday, but we were just on the wrong side of those fine lines and key decisions.

“We knew it would be a difficult start with Boston finishing just three points outside the play-offs and then Chorley and Stockport, who made the play-offs last season. They have got that experience and continuity in their group, but we were really pleased with the response from Saturday, where we were disappointed.”

Guiseley will still be without Scott Smith (concussion) alongside summer signings Terry Kennedy and Louie Swain for tomorrow’s test.

Some players who remain on the club’s books from last season will also not feature due to contractual reasons, Bignot confirmed. He added: “We have got players in the group signed up. But we just cannot play some players due to the financials and the budget. We are restricted on who we can select, but likewise, keeping everyone fit will be important.

“The three out are players who are going to be key for us. With a very small squad, it is important we try and stay as injury free as possible.

“But Ash (Proctor), the physio, is working as hard as he can to get these boys back as quickly as possible. Hopefully, they will be short term and not long term.

“There is a protocol on Scott and Terry won’t be too far away and likewise, Louie.”

Meanwhile, academy-product goalkeeper, Fletcher Paley, midfielder Jack Lazenby and defender Luke Hogg have all signed first-team contracts at Guiseley.

Elsewhere tomorrow, Bradford Park Avenue head to Leamington and York City host Alfreton.

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Harrogate Town have been far from over-awed by life in the National League and head into their third game of the season still unbeaten.

Simon Weaver’s team were only denied an opening-day victory over a strong Sutton United side by a stoppage-time penalty, then went to Hartlepool United in midweek and netted a late goal of their own to secure a second consecutive 2-2 draw.

“I’m very happy overall,” the Town boss said, reflecting on a return of two points from their first two outings in English football’s fifth tier.

“They don’t come much more difficult in terms of the first two games to kick-off your season at this level.

“I think we warranted a victory against Sutton and then we’ve come out in front of 3,000 Hartlepool fans desperate for a win and stood up strong and deserved at least a point

“We’ve passed it well, there’s been a really exciting intent to our game and we’re creating chances. There’s a growing belief in the squad with each game that we play.”

Weaver and his players now turn their attentions to tomorrow’s long trip to Bromley, 3pm kick-off. The Ravens finished 2017/18 ninth in the division and have lost one and drawn one so far this season.

FC Halifax Town will be looking to maintain their 100 per cent record tomorrow when they host fifth-placed Maidstone United. Town have defeated Braintree and Barrow so far this season.