GUISELEY boss Mark Bower remains confident that the Lions will resolve their redevelopment issues with Leeds City Council regarding Nethermoor – and that the club will meet a ground grading deadline to fulfil National League criteria.
Work has temporarily stopped at Nethermoor, which must meet ground grading criteria for 2016-17 by a league deadline of March 31 – after the city council posted a ‘stop notice’ at the ground amid concerns about protected trees.
With the clock ticking regarding Guiseley’s work to complete a raft of ground improvements for the club to reach a minimum A grade, it represents an untimely development.
If the work is not completed – with the capacity needing to be extended to 4,000 – Guiseley could face being booted out of the division regardless of how they fare on the pitch.
But Bower believes that the delay in work will be temporary and is concentrating wholly on matters on the pitch and is not duly worried by the off-the-field situation.
He said: “The lads will concentrate on winning games and from what we are being told, there will not be any problem with getting the work done. A fair amount has been done already.
“The delay, while not ideal, should not be a significant one.
“I think it is not so much what we are doing, but how we are going about it and us needing to make a couple of adjustments.
“Obviously, everyone wants to get on with people who live around the ground and we will do what we need to do.
“Fair enough, if we have not quite done what we are allowed to do and it’s an honest mistake, then we will address that and get on with it.
“But we (management and players) can’t get affected by anything like that. There’s no point in us taking our focus off the pitch and we must make sure we are not relegated for where we finish in the league.”
Lions chairman Phil Rogerson has also moved to reassure supporters worried about the potential spectre of relegation regarding an off-the-field issue and says that the club believe that dialogue between themselves, the council and independent experts can resolve the issue in the coming days.
Rogerson explained: “We have had a meeting with our tree experts who are doing a report and there are a few issues.
“But, hopefully, we will see the (new) plans and I’d like to think that we will be back up and running by early next week.
“I don’t think it’s a disaster situation. I guess we have been slightly naive with the pre-set conditions and we need to go through and get those discharged as soon as possible and get the stop notices lifted.
“There’s probably a certain amount of work we have to do in terms of getting protection that we probably haven’t done as well as we could have.
“Hopefully, once we have done that, they will be happy and they will raise the stop notice and we can get cracking again. I’d like to think that if we can get started next week, we won’t have lost too much.
“We are working our backsides off to get back on track, and if we need to throw labour at it by the middle of March, we will.
“It is absolutely essential in terms of where we are going, especially given that Mark is making a half-decent fist of it on the field at the moment.”