JOINT GUISELEY manager Marcus Bignot has paid tribute to the strong mentality of his squad – who have already taken six points from losing positions so far this term.
Fifteenth-placed Guiseley’s grit and persistence has been a defining feature of the National North season so far, so much so that they boast a five-match unbeaten streak ahead of tomorrow’s home game with Chester.
It was in evidence over the Bank Holiday weekend, when an Andy Halls strike earned them a point at Altrincham, following on from a last-gasp win over Nuneaton, thanks to Kaine Felix’s stoppage-time winner in a 2-1 success after Alex Purver had earlier levelled.
Other key late goals have also arrived, much to the satisfaction of Bignot and co-boss Russ O’Neill.
Bignot said: “What we have shown is that we are getting stronger physically and finishing games strongly in terms of how we are coming back.
“The mentality of the group is that they do not know when they are beaten and it is going to stand us in good stead.
We have spoken about the importance of not bringing players in with just ability, but also character and they are showing that in terms of playing for the shirt, the club and one another.Marcus Bignot
“We were desperate to get our first back-to-back wins. But to take four points over the Bank Holiday, after a demanding start to the season for part-time players; we have got to be happy with that, overall.
“We have spoken about the importance of not bringing players in with just ability, but also character and they are showing that in terms of playing for the shirt, the club and one another.”
Meanwhile, Bignot has vowed that the club will show no hesitation in promoting youth further – following a recent debut for teenage winger Tabish Hussain.
The 17-year-old set up Felix’s winner against Nuneaton, with fellow academy graduates Will Thornton and Scott Smith having also been given opportunities this term.
Bignot said: “We are going to be very dependent on the youngsters. It is not a ‘needs-must’, but more the way we want to go anyway.
“If we had a big budget and big squad, one of our main areas is that we want to develop our own – given the outstanding work that Dave (Currie) has done at academy level.
“Curtis Morrison was out of the squad and it was a ‘no-brainer’ to get another wide man into the group and we like playing with wide players and he (Hussain) has done well in pre-season. He had a major contribution to the winning goal last Saturday with a really vicious cross.
“I remember when I was 18 and playing National League football week in, week out and I have said to all the boys that if they are not playing in our first team, it is important, certainly in their first year, that they get experience of men’s football.
“That pressure of three points on a Saturday afternoon is key to their development.”
High-flying Bradford Park Avenue are in action on Sunday at FC United of Manchester (3pm), where they will be seeking their third successive win as they bid to extend their unbeaten run to five matches.
National League leaders FC Halifax Town make the trip to Sutton United tomorrow, while fourth-placed Harrogate Town will be aiming to extend their fine start to their first-ever campaign at this level when they entertain 16th-placed Eastleigh.
Simon Weaver’s side are just one of three teams along with Leyton Orient and AFC Fylde who have yet to see their colours lowered in the league so far this season after seven matches.
Town will be without the central midfield pairing of Jack Emmett and Josh Falkingham, but striker Mark Beck is available following his return from injury.