GIVEN GUISELEY’S record at former Football League venues so far this season, Mark Bower is entitled to find reasons to believe ahead of tonight’s tough National League trip to high-flying Cheltenham Town.
The Lions have earned draws which probably merited more at the likes of Wrexham, Torquay and Chester and they head south with confidence levels on the rise, thanks to back-to-back wins over Welling and Barrow.
Saturday’s win over the Bluebirds, thanks to goals from Danny Boshell, Rob Atkinson and Anthony Dudley – who has hit three goals in two matches since joining on loan from League One outfit Bury – afforded Guiseley the psychological fillip of moving up to 26 points, with the club now over halfway to reaching the magic mark of fifty points.
Reaching that milestone, unless you are significantly unlucky, usually denotes divisional safety, with Bower admitting that successive wins has taken away a bit of pressure ahead of tonight.
While one member of the Johnson footballing family is having a desperate time of it in beleaguered Barnsley head coach Lee, his father Gary is faring much better in the west country with Cheltenham lying second.
Tonight is probably as tough as it gets at this level in midweek, but Bower – buoyed by recent events – is relishing the test.
He said: “I don’t think anyone will give us a chance down there against one of the biggest clubs in the league who are on a really good run.
“We have to be right on the top of our game. But the six points from the last two games have provided us with a lot of confidence and has taken the pressure off a little bit.
“Gary has massive experience and he is a fantastic manager at this level and above over the years.
“Cheltenham weren’t one of the overly-fancied sides at the start of the season. But he recently got them to the top of the league and that’s no surprise really.
“They are a big, strong and physical side and it is a tough one for us on a Tuesday night away from home.
“But we have stood up to things well in some of the away games where we have not been fancied and put in good performances if not the results we have deserved at the likes of Wrexham and Forest Green.
Guiseley certainly know plenty about Whaddon Road, having played there several times in recent seasons, albeit against different opponents.
Bower added: “To be fair, Cheltenham have had a ground-share with Gloucester for the last few years and the ground will be familiar to the lads too as we have played there a few times over the past few years.
“We have got a lot of league experience in the side also and the crowds or setting won’t faze us.
“It’s a long way and a difficult one against a good side. But we will go there with a plan.”
Meanwhile, despite been busy in the transfer market in bringing in striker Dudley, winger Adam Smith and full-back Liam Marsden in recent weeks, Bower is not ruling out additional signings before the emergency loan window deadline on the final Thursday of this month.
The Nethermoor chief said: “You never know, things can crop up.
“Obviously, Will Hatfield got injured in the recent cup game and we are probably a touch light in midfield and we will see what comes up.
“We are always looking.”
FARSLEY CELTIC assistant-boss Mark Jackson has left the club to take up a position with Leeds United’s academy – working under Paul Hart.
The former Whites defender had been with Celtic for eight seasons, serving as a player and then assistant-manager.
He again links up with Hart, his former youth-team boss at Elland Road. Jackson has been a stalwart at the club for a number of years and stayed at Throstle Nest despite the club folding in 2010.
Jackson became captain of the reformed club in 2011 before later concentrating on coaching duties.
On his departure, current Farsley captain Rob O’Brien said: “Jacko has been a great servant to the club through all the good times and bad.
“He has had a massive impact on Farsley and definitely on me since I joined the club and I’m sure the rest of the lads will say the same.
“He is irreplaceable to some extent, but the job at Thorp Arch is perfect for him and he will be successful I am certain. We wish him the best of luck.”
Action tonight, weather permitting, sees Thackley welcome Liversedge in the second round of the West Riding County Cup. Garforth host Armthorpe. Farsley entertain Shaw Lane Aquaforce in the Doodson Sport Cup and Ossett Town visit Goole.
Ossett Albion host Mossley and Frickley Athletic visit Grantham. Brighouse go to Spennymoor.
Harrogate Town visit Boston in Vanarama North.