MARK BOWER admits that Guiseley’s recent spell of inaction has left him with decidedly mixed feelings.
The Lions, due to visit Boston United in Vanarama North tomorrow, have been cooling their heels in the past week, with their last two scheduled matches with AFC Fylde and Bradford Park Avenue both postponed.
For goal poacher Adam Boyes, the extended break has proved a frustration, with his three-match ban, which started on Boxing Day, to now last until January 31.
But it has possibly proved a blessing for Wayne Brooksby, Gavin Rothery and Oli Johnson.
Brooksby would have definitely missed Saturday’s home derby with Avenue, with Rothery and Johnson also both doubtful – but all three could now feature tomorrow.
Bower said: “Regarding Adam, the best case scenario is the last day of January and it’s frustrating for him and the lads.
“Watching every other team in the Conference North play last week has made things doubly frustrating.
“But with a couple of injuries floating around the squad, it could have been worse and we will be stronger this weekend.”
Philosophical about his side missing out on action in the past week, he said: “It happens at this time of year and is part and parcel of this level of football and you deal with it, stay on top of your fitness and make sure you are ready to go when you need to be.”
While Guiseley have sat things out, others at the top have filled their boots, with Bower’s side now inclined to mind the gap in the top reaches of the table.
The fourth-placed Lions now find themselves 13 points behind leaders Fylde, having played a game fewer and eight points adrift of second-placed Barrow, albeit with two matches in hand.
Next up is a tricky trip to eighth-placed Boston, who beat Guiseley 3-0 in Lincolnshire last season and have also shown a predilection to save their best form on home soil for the arrival of several high-fliers this term.
Bower said: “Boston are quite a young side which might explain why they are a touch inconsistent.
“But what they are is usually very strong at home. They had a very good record last season and this season, they have beaten Barrow and Fylde. It is a difficult place to go and we were comprehensively beaten there last season as well.
“Looking at our position, we will have to be on top of it.
“Unfortunately, with having our games called off last week, the top two teams have played twice since then and won both games.
“So we have a bit of catching up to do, starting on Saturday.”
Elsewhere, weather permitting, Harrogate Town visit fifth-placed Solihull Moors and Avenue host fellow strugglers Colwyn Bay.
OSSETT ALBION will be seeking to confirm their status as big-game hunters tomorrow.
Albion welcome Evo-Stik First Division North big guns Darlington 1883, with the club – who have Conner Bower back – eyeing a bumper crowd of between 400 to 500.
Richard Tracey’s 17th-placed side have saved their best for the big occasions of late, beating Scarborough Athletic at home and triumphing in the Boxing Day derby at Ossett Town, with their seasonal form providing a fillip after a couple of seasons of toil.
The only recent downer was a three-point points deduction for fielding an ineligible player, although Albion are still looking towards mid-table and not down.
Secretary Stephen Hanks said: “When the big stage is there, we do seem to perform. Maybe the bigger crowds inspire us.
“We are doing really well at the moment, probably in the best form for quite a while.”
Elswhere, Farsley and Brighouse host Scarborough and Salford City. Ossett Town and Harrogate Rail go to Mossley and Bamber Bridge.
In the Premier, Frickley visit Ramsbottom.
IT’S CERTAINLY been an eventful week behind the scenes at Garforth Town.
A new community consortium headed by ex-general manager Brian Close and his wife Jane and accountant Craig Bannister have taken over from ex-Southampton supremo Rupert Lowe, who has now severed his links with the club.
Lowe helped rescue the club from going under in late 2012, covering debts for the next two years and a club statement has issued thanks.
It said: “It should go on record that, even up to a few weeks ago, Rupert was having to cover historical debts.
“It was always the intention of Rupert Lowe to keep the club as a community asset.”
Garforth visit Heanor tomorrow and elsewhere in the NCEL Premier, Tadcaster visit Glasshoughton and Liversedge and Albion Sports head to Parkgate and Worksop. Thackley host Maltby.
Division One derbies see Hemsworth and Selby host Yorkshire Amateur and Pontefract Colls.
Knaresborough and Eccleshill visit Dronfield and Winterton. AFC Emley host Clipstone.