Non-league football: Lockwood leaps for the Lions over Latics

Adam Lockwood, centre.
Adam Lockwood, centre.
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NOT Many players would reject an offer from a League One club to join a Conference side –but Adam Lockwood is a notable exception.

The vastly-experienced defender has linked up with Conference Premier newboys Guiseley, turning down fresh terms at Oldham Athletic in the process, having been part of the coaching staff at the Latics in the final few months of last season.

Lockwood, 33, fitted in playing duties with being number two to Oldham temporary boss Dean Holden at the back end of 2014-15, with new Boundary Park manager Darren Kelly signalling his intentions to keep him by tabling a new contract.

But Yorkshireman Lockwood says the lure of being part of something special at Guiseley in their maiden voyage in the Conference Premier was something he could simply not pass over.

Lockwood, who spent a short spell at Nethermoor early on in Mark Bower’s reign in 2013-14 before linking up with Oldham, said: “I would not have joined if I didn’t think that the club could keep progressing.

“I had an offer from a League One club to stay there, but felt it was the right time to come to Guiseley.

“I got the player-coach role towards the back end of last season as assistant to Dean Holden at Oldham. It was a good experience, but I just felt that while I enjoyed my time there, that I thought it was the right time to face a new challenge for my own development.

“I wanted to be part of what Guiseley are trying to do.”

The former Doncaster Rovers, Bury and Yeovil Town centre-half will provide invaluable experience at the back for the Lions, having last played at Conference level back in 2002-03 for the Glovers, when they were promoted to the Football League by a street.

Now the challenge is helping Guiseley consolidate in the fifth tier of football and while that promises to be a stiff task, it is something that Wakefield-born Lockwood is clearly relishing.

Lockwood has maintained a passing interest on events at Guiseley and had a watching brief at some games towards the climatic end of arguably the Lions’ greatest season in their history – and was impressed.

He added: “I have kept up to speed about Guiseley and have been watching games, as part of the management team at another club as well.

“I can see what direction Guiseley want to go and that excited me.

“Mark has a bright future himself and I am glad he sees me as part of that and I enjoyed it during the last time I was there.

“I like the direction of the club and what they are striving to do. With the type of people there, everyone is pulling in the right direction and helps each other out and that is what you need.

“If I felt that there was no way of progressing and being part of that, I wouldn’t be here.

“Every club I have been at, there have been challenges and it was the right time for me. You need to keep testing yourself.

“There were a lot of reasons behind coming here really.”