PAUL COX insists that he remains wholly confident that Guiseley will win their National League survival fight – if they replicate their performance levels in Wednesday night’s unlucky FA Trophy exit at Gateshead.
After two postponements due to the weather, the Lions did it tough once again in a bitter exit in the rescheduled game in north-east, with their ire compounded by the fact that the hosts’ winner arrived in the final minute of extra-time in a 2-1 verdict.
It represented a crushing start to the festive season for Guiseley, whose winless streak extended to eight matches in all competitions in the process.
But Cox admits he took more than a kernel of hope from the display against Heed, despite its disappointing ending.
Cox, whose side are aiming to secure their first league win since October 28 at home to an Aldershot side who thrashed them 6-0 in the reverse fixture in mid-August – when Adam Lockwood was at the helm -–said: “The thing we have to do is add the results to the performances.
“Our performance on Wednesday was probably as good a performance since I have been here. But we lost the game by the last kick of the match, basically.
“But there were massive pluses for us to take into the Christmas period.
“Gateshead is a hard place to go on a Saturday afternoon, never mind a Wednesday night and I was very pleased with the performance and don’t think we will have any problems in the second half of the season.
“It was a performance which took us back to the pre-FA Cup games and if we play like that now, we will win a lot of football matches.
“What we have got to do now is cut out the sloppy goals which we conceded and be a bit a little bit more ruthless in the final third as we had enough chances and shots on goals to win two or three games.”
Cox admits that the rescheduling of the Trophy tie to Wednesday evening was far from ideal, given the start of the Christmas and New Year programme, which will see second-from-bottom Guiseley fit in four games in nine days, weather permitting.
All told, including the game at Gateshead, the Lions may have to negotiate five matches in 12 days, but Cox is focusing on things he can control.
Cox added: “It was not ideal with the game being moved back. And extra-time was the one thing we didn’t want.
“But we have to look at the plusses with the way we played and we have had to take that into the next game and prepare right and make sure the lads are rested up and we are not having a hangover from the physicality.
“Preparation is key now.
“I thought the performance was excellent and there were loads of positives. The two lads who came in were superb. I thought (Adam) Crookes was excellent and we looked after Robbo (James Roberts) a little bit through lack of game time and we want to make sure he is alright for these league games.
“I think we saw early on how exciting he is going to be. When he is 100 per cent, he will score goals and be a constant threat to the opposition.”
Loan striker Rowan Liburd is a doubt for tomorrow’s game with the Shots after being taken off on Wednesday night with a tight hamstring, with home supporters likely to get their first glimpse of loan duo Crookes and Roberts tomorrow.
FC Halifax, in 16th place, will be seeking to record back-to-back league wins for the first time since mid-September when they entertain fourth-from-bottom Chester tomorrow.