A SPOT of deja vu would certainly not go amiss for Mark Bower this week.
Twelve months ago, Guiseley – fresh from an unfortunate opening-day National League loss at Welling – backed up with character and aplomb with successive Nethermoor victories and that is the challenge at the start of 2016-17.
After being edged out on Saturday at Eastleigh, back-to-back home games are again on the roster, with Wrexham – who the Lions famously beat 3-1 in superb fashion towards the tail-end of last season – being the visitors tonight followed by relegated Dagenham and Redbridge this coming weekend.
Bower, working towards bringing in one more signing after completing the acquisitions of Marcus Williams, Jordan Preston and Tim Deasy late last week, said: “Last year we came away very disappointed not to get anything from Welling and backed it up with two home wins.
“This year, they are certainly tougher games as Kidderminster and Altrincham were a different kettle of fish to Dagenham and Wrexham.
“But they are there to be beaten and we did enough on Saturday to suggest we can get results against the better teams.
“You look at last year and we did well against Wrexham and it is quite fresh in the memory as it is only April when they were here.
“We finished last year with a couple of good home wins and it would be nice to carry that on. But having said that, they have probably only got one or two players left from that night and we have probably not got many left either.
“I don’t think last year’s result will have any bearing. But let’s hope we can go about it in a similar fashion.
“Wrexham have brought in some good players from other Conference clubs and they are a big, big club and I am sure that they will be looking to challenge in that top five and you definitely expect that to happen.
“Hopefully, given the fact they have brought in more new players than we have, it will take them a little bit more time to gel and we can take advantage of that.
“But they are definitely a good side and they will be right up there.”
On Saturday’s loss at Eastleigh, which saw Michael Rankine find the net on his league debut, Bower – taking a modicum of consolation – said “Apart from a couple of poor mistakes for goals in the first half, we did okay against a team who everyone is talking about as being one of the top two or three teams.
“Seven out of our 10 outfield players were debutants and we are only part-time and it is hard to get used to each other, but we showed signs that they are starting to gel a little bit more and get used to each other.
“We showed some promising signs, but it was disappointing as I felt we did well enough to get at least a point.”
Guiseley will be without Nicky Clee (hamstring) tonight.
Elsewhere tonight, National League North action sees Harrogate Town welcome Boston United and FC Halifax Town entertain Altrincham.
In the NCEL Premier, Thackley host Clipstone and Nostell are at home to Maine Road in a FA extra-preliminary round replay.
Garforth welcome Grimsby Borough in the NCEL League Cup second round.