Lions venture into unknown territory as cup underdogs

Mark Bower.
Mark Bower.
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MARK BOWER admits he would have preferred it if the half-prediction he made on Saturday tea-time had not in fact come true.

His Guiseley side have been handed an arduous FA Cup fourth-qualifying round trip to Conference outfit Grimsby Town, with Bower having said that the last thing he wanted after the weekend win over Halesowen was a trip to either the Mariners or former club Halifax Town.

But Bower was not so lucky and admits that boot will be on the other foot for his Lions side when they visit Town.

After having all the pressure on their shoulders ahead of Saturday’s home clash with Evo-Stik Premier outfit Halesowen Town, which the Lions safely negotiated 3-0, Bower’s troops will be cast in the role of underdogs when they face the Mariners at Blundell Park on October 25.

Bower is the first to admit that he was wanting a lower-division side at Nethermoor ahead of yesterday’s draw with victory for the winners securing passage to the first round next month, along with prize money of £12,500.

What he got was the complete opposite in one of the toughest draws the Lions could have received, but he is hoping his side can play the underdog card.

Bower, whose side progressed at the weekend thanks to goals from Gavin Rothery, Nicky Boshell and Adam Boyes as the Lions extended their unbeaten streak to nine matches, said: “After the game on Saturday, I said that I would like a home draw against a side from as low down the pyramid as possible and didn’t want someone like Grimsby or Halifax away.

“I will have to be careful what I say in future!”

He added: “Grimsby will be a difficult game against a full-time professional team who not too long ago were in the Football League and they also did well last season.

“For us, the boot will be on the other foot. We have been big favourites for the last two ties and now we can go there as underdogs.

“You would expect the pitch to be in a good condition there and we will hopefully go and play our football.

“But we won’t be treating it as a day out, but as a game where we want to get a result to get through to the next round.

“You look at the top 10 or 12 of the Conference effectively being full time and it is like a League Three.

“There is a gulf from our level. But when we have been favourites in the last two rounds, I have said there will be teams from a lower level who will beat a higher one and, hopefully, it will be the case in the next round when we can pull off a shock.

“I don’t know too much about them at the minute, but we will do our research and be as well prepared as possible.

“I know a fair few players in their side have league experience as well. It is one we will look forward to.”

Elsewhere, FC Halifax will visit Chorley in a Roses battle in the cup.

Action tonight sees NCEL leaders Tadcaster visit third-placed Heanor, while struggling duo Nostell and Glasshoughton welcome Barton Town and Thackley respectively.

In Division One, Selby host Knaresborough and leaders AFC Emley visit Yorkshire Amateur.

Hemsworth head to Worsbrough Bridge.

In the Evo-Stik First Division North, Ossett Town host Mossley and Brighouse head to Salford City.

Harrogate Rail are at home to Bamber Bridge.

Goole head to Mickleover Sports in First Division South.

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