Non-league football: Automatic promotion goal for Lions after play-off pain

Adam Boyes.
Adam Boyes.
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ARK BOWER is calling on his Guiseley side to enforce some home rule at Nethermoor to boost their 2014-15 Vanarama North title drive.

After endless play-off heart-ache at this level, the Lions are determined to successfully push for the big one in the shape of the championship and avoid the dreaded end-of-season lottery in their quest to achieve their ‘Holy Grail’ of Conference football.

Their fine home form of the second-half of 2013-14 proved a bedrock of their strong finish to last term and Bower is anxious for his side to carry on from where they left off in front of home punters, starting against fallen giants Stockport County this evening.

Bower said: “We want to really push on this season with a strong start and we have seven of our first 11 games at home this season as well.

“We had a good home record towards the end of last season and are really looking towards taking advantage of that again this season.

“And there’s a chance for some early momentum with us having Stockport and then Worcester on Saturday in two successive home games.”

Offering his thoughts on tonight’s meeting with the Hatters, who plumbed the depths last term in a torrid campaign for the Cheshire opponents, he added: “I think they have steadied the ship a bit.

“They are a big, big club at our level and now with a year’s experience, I am sure they will be stronger this time around and they have brought in a couple of good players in.

“I expect them to be definitely improved on last year and they will obviously bring a decent backing here.”

Meanwhile, Ben Parker has echoed Bower’s call for the Lions to hit the ground running in their bid for automatic promotion – to ensure there is no hangover effect lingering from last term in a division which has got stronger.

The ex-Leeds United defender said: “We have got to hit the ground running because, if not, we are going to get left behind as it is such a competitive league.

“And there’s a few more teams who have gone for it and spent a bit of money.

“It will be tight. But we know if we get off to a good start, it will stand us in good stead for the season.”

On his decision to sign for another year at Nethermoor, he added: “I felt that if we kept the same squad, then I’d be more than happy to stay as I feel we have the squad to get promoted after the way we finished last year.

“There’s the likes of Boyesy (Adam Boyes), who came on loan and did fantastically well for us.

“I know there were a few clubs looking at him, so for us to get him signed up was massive.

“It was one of the main reasons for me to actually stay on.

“We have some great players such as Gav (Rothery) and we have quality and experience throughout the squad.”

FC Halifax host Southport in the Conference Premier tonight.

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