Mark Bower is eagerly anticipating a return to Saturday fixtures at Nethermoor Park ahead of tomorrow’s game against Braintree Town.
Guiseley have not played a game at home at the traditional time of 3pm on a Saturday since November 28, 2015. The visit of the National League’s seventh-placed side will be the first time a fixture has taken place at that time for 91 days.
Home comforts were not much of a plus for Guiseley as they lost 1-0 to Forest Green Rovers on Tuesday night, with substitute Brett Williams scoring for the second-placed visitors.
However, Bower believes another home tie, part of a run of four on the spin in the league, will only be a positive for his side as they look to secure safety: “Home games are your bread and butter. You can look at every team in the league and their home record will be better than their away records.
“It’ll be good to have a home game on Saturday at the weekend, it’ll be good to play in front of our own fans and be back in familiar surroundings.
“It’s good to be back playing home games again.”
One player who featured on Tuesday was former Leeds United academy prospect Dan Atkinson, making only his fourth appearance of the season in the National League.
With regular first-choice Steve Drench absent through illness, it provided a chance for the former England Under-17 stopper to impress and try and make the goalkeeper’s jersey his own.
Atkinson admitted: “It’s an opportunity, an opportunity I haven’t had so far in my career, so hopefully I can keep pushing forward.”
From his berth between the sticks, Atkinson was impressed with his side’s display against Forest Green, aided by the quality of the pitch at Nethermoor Park compared to Altrincham’s at the weekend. He said: “I thought the boys played very well.
“We had high expectations, with Forest Green being second in the league, and I thought we passed the ball well and played some good stuff.
“The pitch played much better than on Saturday. It really allowed us to get the ball down and it might have surprised them the way we came out and played.”
Atkinson believes the Lions have to carry forward their performance from Tuesday’s loss. If they manage to do so, the 19-year-old is convinced they can pick up a result against Braintree.
Asked about a victory tomorrow, Atkinson said: “Yeah, hopefully yeah, we should do. The performance that we put in (on Tuesday), all we have to do is replicate that, and hopefully the balls will fall for us on Saturday.”
With six points between Guiseley and the relegation zone, Atkinson is also keen for the club to push for safety as soon as possible: “It’s really important that the club can pull away, there is still a hefty gap between us and the relegation zone.
“The quicker we get away from that, the quicker we can start planning for next season.”
Elsewhere, former manager Neil Aspin returns to FC Halifax Town with Gateshead in the FA Trophy fifth round, his first visit since the end of his six-year tenure. Harrogate Town host Gloucester City in the National League North after their 5-0 trouncing of FC United of Manchester last weekend.
Harrogate Railway Athletic could be without goalscoring hero Amar Purewal when they line up against Northwich Victoria on Saturday.
Purewal made an instant impact on his debut against New Mills on Tuesday night, scoring twice and putting in a generally exceptional display as Railway won 3-0, their first victory in the league for 11 games.
However, Purewal had to be withdrawn only four minutes after half-time after tweaking his groin, which will be monitored ahead of tomorrow’s match.
Another victory for Railway could see them climb out of the First Division North relegation zone, although overcoming Northwich, who are second, would bely the trend of Railway’s season.
They would be reliant upon Ossett Town, who are currently two points ahead of them, dropping points.
Ossett Town themselves have a difficult game against ninth-placed Lancaster City, which could give Railway reason to believe if they can perform to a high standard.
Local rivals Ossett Albion take on Farsley Celtic. Celtic could climb up to ninth in the league, above Lancaster City with a win, while Albion will be hoping for a resuilt to propel them up to fourth.
Frickley Athletic also play tomorrow. Frickley, 10th in the Premier Division, travel to sixth-place Barwell.
Tadcaster Albion manager Billy Miller has called on his side to bounce back from their mid-week disappointment when they face Barton Town Old Boys tomorrow.
The Premier Division leaders fell to a 2-1 loss against Staveley Miners Welfare on Wednesday night, their first defeat for seven games.
A run of victories on the bounce had catapulted Taddy back to the top of the league after an extended period of postponements.
The defeat could have come as a hammer blow, but Miller was anticipating a loss.
He admitted: “I’ve said all along, for the last two or three weeks, when we have been winning, that the club would have to deal with a setback at some point.
“(Staveley) were really vibrant, strong, fast pacey, very young and very energetic. You could see how important it was to them at the end of the game.
“This is our setback, what we have to do now is recover from that.”
If anything, Miller was delighted that there was such a quick turnaround time to Saturday’s fixture: “Let’s not lose sight of the fact we have lost fewer games than anyone else in the league. We need to move on quickly, and football is great for that, because we play again on Saturday.”
However, the Tadcaster chief did say that Barton Town, 10th in the NCEL top flight, might not be simple opposition for his side to overcome, having scouted them earlier in the week.
He said: “They are not a bad side either, I watched them on Tuesday over at Hemsworth. Despite their injury problems, they were in the game for quite long periods last night.”
Elsewhere in the division, Pontefract Collieries take on ninth-placed Pickering Town at home. A victory for Pontefract could lift them to 17th and increase the gap to the relegation zone to five points.
Basement side Liversedge, who have not played at home since October 31 last year, travel to Brigg Town, who are 21st. Garforth Town host Handsworth Parramore.
In Division One, leaders Hemsworth Miners Welfare take on Lincoln Moorlands Railway. Glasshoughton Welfare are also in action, visiting Penistone Church. Westella VIP face Rossington Main, while Selby Town host Eccleshill United.