FC HALIFAX TOWN may have received dubious notoriety for shipping seven goals twice already this month, but Mark Bower is still wary ahead of tomorrow’s FA Cup clash.
Bower takes his Guiseley side to The Shay for an FA Cup fourth-qualifying round tie against hosts who have won just twice in 18 games this term - and copped several beatings along the way.
But Bower believes recent form will go out of the window in this weekend’s derby encounter and is reading little into the Shaymen’s toils or his side’s victory over their near-neighbours at Nethermoor on September 15 – in what proved to be Neil Aspin’s last game in charge.
Bower, looking to strengthen his numbers ahead of this weekend, said: “It is a difficult one for us. People will be looking at their run and maybe thinking it is a good game, but it’s not.
“With a cup tie, you want a home tie against a team as low down the pyramid as possible. To be drawn away to a team in our league makes it tough.
“Their manager has said he has not had a chance to work with his players with all the midweek games and this is a chance for them and they have a load of new players in.
“Three, four or five of the ones who start against us won’t be affected by too much of what has gone on over the course of the season. You can also take out the two heavy defeats against two of the best three or four teams in the league in Cheltenham and Grimsby.
“It is also a local derby and the cup will take away the routine that they have been in as well, so it has the makings of a difficult game for us.”
Bower has chalked off plenty of milestones in his outstanding tenure at Guiseley, but landing a plum FA Cup tie against a big club from the lower divisions is not something on his managerial CV yet.
It is something that the former Bradford City defender would like to add, with the likes of his old club and Sheffield United potentially awaiting in round one if fortune favours tomorrow’s victors in Monday’s draw.
Bower, who will be without the services of Barnsley loanee George Maris, who is ineligible for tomorrow’s derby, added: “The prime focus for both teams is the chance of getting a tie against one of the big boys from League One and League Two and it could potentially mean TV and the money and exposure that brings can be massive at our level.
“In that respect, It is a massive game for both sides and one we can hopefully come out on top in.
“There are some big sides in the first-round draw and it is one that can bring out the best in players.”
Guiseley captain Ben Parker is set to be included in the Lions ranks tomorrow following injury. Bower added: “Ben as a captain is a character and a player who people look up to in the dressing room and certainly he has a presence with the players, even while he has been out.
“He will probably be in the squad and it is a definite plus for us.
“He’s unlikely to start, but if we need him on the bench and he has to come on and do a job late on in the game, he is certainly a good one for that job.
“We are a little bit thin on the ground with a couple of players out and just need to freshen things up with a new body or two.”
HARROGATE TOWN boss Simon Weaver has admitted that Saturday’s FA Cup home clash with Grimsby Town is possibly the biggest game he’s ever taken charge of.
A capacity crowd of up to 2,000 is expected at Wetherby Road for the fourth round qualifying tie (3pm) and Weaver believes his side can really “have a go” at their National League opponents and earn another money-spinning tie in the first round proper.
Town go into the game in good heart after Saturday’s 2-1 National League North victory over Lowestoft Town thanks to goals from Brendon Daniels and Jack Emmett and Weaver is relishing the visit of the Mariners.
“It is possibly the biggest game I’ve taken charge of,” said Weaver.
“There is no pressure on us really, it’s like a free hit for us against them.
“We can certainly have a good go against them.
“I would expect us to get at them straight away, before they can settle.
“Obviously, it’s a massive challenge for us.
“We’ve had a look at videos of Grimsby and their players have got skill and are exceptional throughout the team, but all we can do is control the controllables and we’ll have a really good go at them.”
He added: “We can’t carry any passengers against Grimsby – they took Halifax Town to the cleaners recently – 7-0 – and are a very good side but we won’t give them too much respect.”
With Town supporters expected to pack out the ground and Grimsby also bringing a large travelling support, Weaver’s expecting a tremendous atmosphere.
“It’ll be a good old fashioned Cup tie,” said Weaver.
“The ground is likely to be up to capacity as the game is selling well with both sets of fans.
“Our fans were amazing at Lowestoft last weekend and hopefully they can suck the ball into the goal at the Kop end on Saturday.”
Weaver expects his team to be at full strength.
Dominic Knowles and Daniels missed midweek training but are expected to be fit.
The match will be a memorable one for Town’s current assistant boss John McDermott, who spent 20 years at Grimsby as a player and made over 600 appearances for the club.
OSSETT ALBION have boosted their ranks with the addition of Farsley Celtic centre-half Jack Riley.
The defender has spent three years at Farsley and had started ten matches this term.
Albion have won their last three games in all competitions and Riley could make his debut in their Evo-Stik First Division North game at Burscough tomorrow.
On his exit, Riley said: ‘I have ended up down the order and I believed I should have been playing.
“I had three good years at Farsley and will miss everyone associated with the club. However I need to be playing at my age and I have made the decision to sign for Ossett.
‘I didn’t want to leave but I was in a situation where I felt I had to. I am looking forward to the future with my new club and hopefully we can push on to the play-offs.”
Farsley welcome high-flying Warrington while lowly Harrogate Railway - who have seen Nigel Corner return as acting chairman - host fifth-placed Brighouse Town.
Ossett Town, on a worrying eight-match winless streak in all competitions, are at home to Kendal.
Frickley Athletic entertain Sutton Coldfield in the Premier Division.
NCEL Premier leaders Tadcaster, who beat rivals Worksop Town in front of almost 900 people in midweek, make the trip to Cleethorpes.
Thackley, 4-1 winners at Nostell in midweek, host Athersley Rec. Garforth welcome Staveley and Nostell, without a win in 13 games, entertain Armthorpe.
Liversedge visit Rainworth and Pontefract Colls host Albion Sports.
Glasshoughton, who triumphed 5-1 on Tuesday against Worsbrough Bridge, host Teversal in Division One.
Yorkshire Amateur, Hemsworth MW and Selby hit the road to Lincoln Moorlands, Rossington and Worsbrough Bridge respectively. Knaresborough visit AFC Mansfield and AFC Emley host Grimsby Borough.