FOR SOMEONE who plied his trade for many years as a sturdy lower-division defender, it should come as no surprise that Adam Lockwood’s FA Cup story has some choice memories.
Now in his first cup foray as a manager, it goes without saying that he would dearly relish a delectable moment with Guiseley.
That remains a fair way off, with the Lions – who have showed their claws in back-to-back National League wins over York City and Southport respectively – faced with clearing the considerable hurdle of Lincoln City before hopefully booking a place in the first round of the game’s most enduring domestic knock-out cup competition.
Progressing to that round one stage and perhaps a few more rounds too represents glorious incentive for those who stride out in the fourth qualifying round this weekend – and Guiseley’s dream is no different.
The Lions are aiming to earn a place in the hat for Monday’s first-round draw for the first time since 2012-13 – and only the fourth occasion since 1999-2000.
Lockwood has a few memorable tales of cup yore to recount, with pride of place, perhaps unsurprisingly, revolving around his time at a renowned cup giant-killing exponent in Yeovil.
In the Glovers’ first campaign in the Football League in 2003-04, Lockwood and his team-mates were handed a plum third-round draw with Liverpool at Huish Park.
The Wakefield-born centre-half also faced former top-flight sides Bolton Wanderers and Aston Villa during high-profile games with another old club in Doncaster Rovers.
On his cup history, Lockwood added: “I have had a few good runs over the years and it is good prestige for a lower division club and I have played against Premier League clubs and various other big ones.
“We got to the fourth round maybe at Doncaster once and at Yeovil, we went quite far and went up against Liverpool. It’s mixed really, but I have had some good times.
“A cup run is great for everybody and is a reward for people who give a lot of time up volunteering for clubs. It would be nice to have a good run.
“The finances are also important and there are a lot of benefits to it and it is a great competition.
“We want to go as far as we possibly can and that is what we have got to aim for.”
While the cup has a special place in the hearts of everyone connected with the game, the pragmatist in Lockwood might just cede that continuing with league business this weekend – with momentum rising after back-to-back wins which have hauled Guiseley off the foot of the table – might have been more opportune.
For his part, Lockwood is not too fussed, with his sole concern being on continuing on a winning trail after Michael Rankine’s goal earned them a 2-1 win over Southport last weekend – to follow on from the 6-1 demolition of York.
On switching emphasis to the cup, he added: “It does not really bother me, if I am honest. They are all good challenges to keep our run going. The win at the weekend pleased me more than the York one in a lot of different aspects and hopefully we can maintain things as well.
“Lincoln are a strong outfit. But whoever opponents you come up against, if you are not right yourselves, then you will not perform on the day and won’t stand a lot of chance.
“We will prepare like we have for any other game and hopefully it will be enough for us to progress.”
Elsewhere in the FA Cup, Harrogate Town face their “biggest game of the season” to date when they host FC Halifax Town tomorrow.
“I’m really looking forward to it,” said Town boss Simon Weaver. “These are the kind of games that you want to be involved in.
“There’s nothing quite like this competition. It gets people excited and creates a lot of interest.
“We’re expecting a crowd of up to 2,000 people so we know there will be a great atmosphere. Just like me, the players can’t wait for the game and are champing at the bit.”
In the National League North, basement-side Bradford PA host fourth-placed Chorley.
******* EVO-STIK League First Division North leaders Brighouse Town will look to bounce back from what manager Paul Quinn described as an “uncharacteristic” 5-2 FA Trophy loss to Witton Albion, when they travel to mid-table Prescott Cables tomorrow, writes Connor Craig-Jackson.
Hot on Town’s heels are Farsley Celtic, who currently sit three points behind their West Yorkshire rivals in second with a game in hand.
The Celts will face a tough test however, hosting an in-form Lancaster City side looking to make it five league wins on the bounce, as the race for promotion hots up. Tadcaster Albion will be confident that they can keep up in the promotion race when they host a Droylsden side who are without a win in their last eight league games, while Scarborough Athletic look to get back to winning ways against Hyde United.
Elsewhere in the division, both Ossett clubs are in league action with Albion looking to kick-start their league campaign against fellow strugglers Ramsbottom United, while Town face a tough test at home to Clitheroe, who lie in ninth ahead of the Ingfield outfit on goal difference.
The Evo-Stik Premier League doesn’t get any easier for lowly Frickley Athletic, as they face their toughest challenge yet against league leaders Buxton.
Athletic will be counting on Buxton’s rocky away form; all three of their losses this season have come on their travels, while Frickley’s 10 points have all been gained at home.