Non-League Football: Guiseley urged to retain focus ahead of play-off point bid

Guiseley's Danny Forrest.
Guiseley's Danny Forrest.
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MARK BOWER has warned his Guiseley side not to underestimate final-day opponents Gloucester City tomorrow – as the Lions seek to seal their latest Skrill North play-off deal.

A point against the west country outfit at Nethermoor will be enough for Guiseley to clinch a top-five spot in the division for the fourth successive season, having previously booked play-off participation three times under Bower’s predecessor Steve Kittrick. Guiseley can still be pipped for the final play-off berth by Boston United, with the Pilgrims needing to win at Worcester and hope Gloucester do them an almighty favour by beating Bower’s side to steal fifth place with their goal difference being better than the Lions.

The form book would suggest that Guiseley, beaten just once in their past 17 games, should negiotiate Gloucester to extend their season, with sixth-from-bottom City boasting just one win in their last seven outings, a 5-2 home success over Harrogate Town.

But Bower won’t be treating Gloucester lightly, mindful of how his side were slightly fortunate to take a point in their 1-1 draw at relegated Workington on Bank Holiday Monday.

Bower said: “There weren’t many positives to take from Monday other than that destiny remains in our hands and hopefully we can finish it off against Gloucester and book our place.

“But we are definitely not taking anything for granted. We came into the bar after the game last Saturday and saw the side who are bottom of the Premier League (Sunderland) beat Chelsea.

“It happens at all levels of football and why people come to watch it. You just don’t know what is going to happen. We will prepare properly for the game and make sure we know as much as we possibly can about Gloucester and put in a real performance in to finish off the (league) season.

“It’s never easy and we will certainly make sure the players know that and we will certainly be all guns firing come three o’clock on Saturday.”

Bower is monitoring the fitness of Alex Johnson, who has been struggling with a knock, Kevin Holsgrove and Danny Forrest and is keeping his fingers crossed they will be back in contention tomorrow. One positive from Monday saw the return of ex-Leeds United defender Ben Parker from injury, who played half an hour at Workington.

Bower added: “Hopefully, we will have one or two more available to pick from at the weekend. We just hope we can get over the line now.”

Harrogate Town can seal a top-seven finish if they triumph at Stockport County and Brackley lose at title-chasing North Ferriby – allied to achieving a goal swing of three.

Town are likely to be without midfielder Adam Bolder and boss Simon Weaver will run fitness checks on several players ahead of the Edgeley Park encounter. Bradford Park Avenue, in tenth, visit Oxford City, battling it out to avoid the final relegation spot with Stalybridge.

Harry Flowers.

Burnley defender joins Guiseley as Maxted moves on