IT MAY be another ultra-tense final day in store for Guiseley tomorrow, but Phil Rogerson is sure of one thing.
Namely, that he and everyone connected with the club would have gladly taken their current position of 20th in the National League back in the depths of their autumnal despair.
The Lions, one and two points respectively above relegation rivals York City and Braintree Town, who currently occupy the final two relegation postions, have endured a rollercoaster season, but can complete their survival mission by beating Solihull Moors tomorrow (12.15pm).
That would represent the final act to another tumultuous seasonal story.
After the action on October 1, the Lions were staring into the abyss with their winless start to the league campaign stretching into nightmare proportions – a 1-0 defeat at Sutton United being their 13th game without a league victory at the start of 2016-17.
But a staggering 6-1 home win over York City three days later was the prelude to a remarkable ‘Great Escape’ under Adam Lockwood and Dave Penney, although the Lions were still lying second from bottom at the start of the new year.
Guiseley managed to get out of the relegation zone for the first time with their 2-1 win over Maidstone on January 7, and their resurgence was such that they found themselves up to 15th as recently as the April 1 victory at Southport.
But since that success, the Lions have seen results and performances dip en route to sealing safety, proving very much that the last mile in a race is perhaps the hardest after a run of one victory in their past eight outings.
It means that the Nethermoor outfit are in a similar position to last year ahead of the final weekend of action with all and sundry hoping for a re-run of the win – if perhaps not quite the drama – which saw them over the line against Torquay United at the end of last season.
Rogerson said: “When you look back at where we were in October, going into the last game and being a point outside of the relegation zone and better than those below us, you would have taken it. It is nerve-wracking at the moment. But hopefully, we will come out of it.
“After five years of (Conference North) play-offs, now we have this and it is always interesting this time of year, isn’t it ...”
Guiseley were backed by a bumper crowd of around 2,000 to roar them on to safety in their final-day appointment last season and Rogerson is hoping for another sizeable attendance to help the Lions finish the job again against Moors. Rogerson added: “Hopefully, with a home game and with a decent pitch – as I don’t think it was clever (at Bromley) last week – and with Jake Cassidy being back and the home support, we will be okay.
“We are asking everyone who supports us to be there willing us on and then I am sure we will get out if it.”
Along with Guiseley, York and Braintree, Torquay United and Woking are also in the relegation picture, with two of that quintet to be relegated at the end of tomorrow’s on-field action.