GUISELEY keeper Steven Drench has revealed that he has quit his academy job at Blackburn Rovers to pursue his Conference mission with the Lions.
The 29-year-old, who started his career at Rovers as a youth-team player, has agreed terms to stay on at Nethermoor next season for Guiseley’s eagerly-anticipated maiden season in the Conference National.
The increased travel commitments involved with playing Conference football, which will see Guiseley travel to the likes of Torquay United, Dover and Eastleigh and several other far-flung venues in the south, has meant that Drench has had to sacrifice the day job – although he says it is a price worth paying.
Drench, who played for the likes of Morecambe, Southport and Leigh Genesis earlier in his career, said: “I had a few things to sort out with work and things and obviously, with the increased travelling, I have had to sacrifice a few things.
“I have had to leave my coaching post unfortunately, as I was coaching the scholars at the Blackburn academy and with the increased travel time, I tried to come to some sort of agreement where I could still do it. But they weren’t willing to do it, so I had to leave.
“But the challenge at Guiseley is very exciting.”
Drench has also confirmed he has rebuffed rival interest to stay on at Guiseley.
Though he readily admits that he felt that he did not have a vintage campaign at Nethermoor, he was part of history as the Lions achieved their holy grail of Conference football at the fifth time of asking following four previous failures in the play-offs.
The Mancunian said: “It is funny, with us being so close a few times in the play-offs before, my phone hasn’t rang. By my own admission, I did not have as good a season as I have probably had in the last couple of years, but I have had a fair few phone calls from clubs regarding playing and coaching.
“I was honest with Mark (Bower) and told him I had a bit of interest, but said I would be happy to sort things out when I got back off holiday.
“I have spoken to Mark a few times and it was never a case of me not signing.
“I am glad it is done now and I am looking forward to starting the season.
“I spoke to Bowser and he told me about the players who were coming in and the plans he had got. It was never going to be a case of going anywhere else.
“After taking five years to get up, I didn’t then not want to stay.”
Along with the likes of Eastleigh, Bromley and Boreham Wood, Guiseley may be one of the lesser lights in the Conference North, which includes a host of clubs who have previous experience of the Football League.
A fair number are also full-time outfits with Guiseley competing against the likes of Tranmere Rovers, Wrexham and Grimsby Town – all teams that have played previously in the second tier of English league football.
It is not dressing things up to say Guiseley face a major quest if they are to consolidate in the fifth tier of English football.
But with the addition of the likes of Adam Lockwood and with others such as Ben Parker, Gavin Rothery and Oli Johnson having experience in the league along with a number of fellow team-mates, Drench sees no reason why Guiseley cannot give things a good go in 2015-16.
And he is also crystal-clear on another thing, namely that the Lions should hold no fear either and should embrace the challenge ahead. Relishing the new campaign, with Guiseley’s fixtures to be revealed at the start of next month, Drench said: “You look at the team and we had a few lads who have experience of the Conference and higher up.
“Now the Conference is a complete change and an extension of League Two really with some of the teams who are in it.
“I don’t think we have anything to fear.
It’s going to be new for most of the lads with the bigger crowds and stadiums.
But it is something we can look forward to, to be honest.
“We can grab it with both hands and give it a good go.”