PAUL COX believes that Guiseley’s new boys are raising the bar at Nethermoor.
The Lions chief, who sampled the sensation of his first league victory as manager on Saturday following a much-needed 4-2 National League success over Solihull Moors, is seeking his third straight win in all competitions at home to eighth-placed Boreham Wood this evening – with his squad revamp starting to yield fruit.
So far, Cox has brought in eight players – loan striker Rowan Liburd, French defenders Jean-Yves Koue Niate and Chris M’Boungo, Darren Holden, Andy Haworth, Luke Freestone, Mike Fondop and Simon Lenighan – and more signings are possible.
Liburd netted on his debut at the weekend as Guiseley triumphed for the first time in the league since August, while Fondop also started and M’Boungo was an early replacement for Will Hatfield.
Cox said: “There is starting to be competition now all over the park and I am starting to see an edge in training now and, as manager, you can shout from the rooftops and tell people this and that.
“But there is nothing better than having someone in the dressing room that is in the same position as somebody and people understand that as being a challenge then.
“It is natural selection and competitiveness now and people will now have to be more consistent in their performance both in training and, more importantly, in games to keep their shirt.
“One or two said after the (Shildon) game that we were a bit top-heavy. But if we had not brought anybody in, we would not have able to fill a bench.”
The addition of Niate and M’Boungo has provided a particularly continental sheen to the Lions’ squad and Cox believes that both project signings have ‘massive potential’ to do well. He added: “I brought a guy called Moussa Diarra (at Barrow) along similar lines.
“Both of them have got a little bit of rawness about them at the minute.
“But I believe in working with players and improving them. Both have got massive potential. They need to have an understanding of who they are and how they will affect this league.”
Elsewhere in the National League, 11th-placed FC Halifax Town could move into the play-off places with a victory at home to Maidstone United tonight.
It’s derby day in the National North as leaders Harrogate Town host struggling Bradford Park Avenue.
Town drew 2-2 with Leamington on Saturday while Bradford Park Avenue slipped to a 2-1 defeat at Darlington – a result which left them without a victory in their last five matches.
In the Evo-Stik League Premier Division, fourth-placed Farsley Celtic will be looking to put their 3-0 home defeat to Mickleover Sports well and truly behind them when they host Ashton United tonight.
In West Riding County Cup first round action tonight, Tadcaster Albion travel to Barnoldswick Town.
Pontefract Collieries will be looking to put some distance between themselves and second-placed Pickering Town in the NCE Premier Division when they host fifth-placed AFC Mansfield tonight.
They currently head Pickering on goal difference but have two games in hand on their rivals.
In Division One, leaders Knaresborough Town travel to next-to-bottom Retford Town.