Non-League football: Boss Bower wary of Trophy upset against underdogs Olympic

Mark Bower.
Mark Bower.
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BOSS MARK Bower is urging Guiseley to take a league approach to tomorrow’s FA Trophy opener in order to avoid a final qualifying round shock.

Guiseley have won four of their last five games in Vanarama North and are 4-9 odds-on favourites to beat tomorrow’s Evo-Stik League visitors Rushall Olympic.

Olympic are 13th in the Evo-Stik Premier – 33 league places lower than the Lions – but Bower knows every cup tie favourite is susceptible to a shock.

Bower warned: “I think everyone will look at us as the favourites but as happens in every round of competitions and certainly in the earlier stages, a team from the lower league will beat a big team from the league above. We’ve just got to make sure that’s not us.

“They’ve got quite a bit of experience in their side and a few lads that were playing in our league last year so they’ll certainly be no pushovers and the experience they’ve got in the side will test us but we’ve got to make sure we treat it as any other league game. If we do that and play like we have in the last five games then we should have enough to go through.”

Guiseley will be looking to bounce back from last Saturday’s 3-2 loss at home to leaders Barrow in which Bower was pleased with his men’s performance, if not the result.

The Lions remain very much in the promotion picture and now the Guiseley manager wants to better last year’s FA Trophy run when the Lions exited in the third round proper at Aldershot Town.

“It’s a big competition for our level,” said Bower, who has a full strength side to pick from tomorrow.

“The prize money is good and the fixtures are on a Saturday as well so it’s not just some competition that’s squeezed in on a mid-week somewhere.

“It’s a realistic opportunity for clubs at our level to play at Wembley so we’re treating it very seriously.

“We had a really good run it last year and following the wins that we had in the Trophy, we followed them up the week after with good results as well.

“It’s important to keep winning and that breeds confidence as well so I’d like to go as far as we possibly can in it. It was an enjoyable little run that we went on last year and we’d like to go a little bit better than that again.”

Harrogate Town have been drawn at King’s Lynn Town tomorrow while Bradford Park Avenue welcome Leamington.

In the Conference, FC Halifax Town welcome second-bottom Alfreton.

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