GUISELEY are facing a defensive crisis ahead of tomorrow’s National League home encounter with form side Eastleigh at Nethermoor.
The Lions, beaten 5-0 at Cheltenham in midweek, will be without the suspended Adam Lockwood, who received his marching orders at Whaddon Road, while fellow centre half Rob Atkinson is out with a pulled hamstring.
Another defender in Ben Parker also took a whack towards the end on Tuesday night and is a doubt and to compound matters, Liam Dickinson broke his nose.
Bower, who is looking at bringing in a couple of players ahead of the emergency loan deadline, with the possibility of additions before tomorrow, said: “Three out of the back four are probably likely to be missing, so that is going to test us.
“But we have other players to come in and it is down to them to grasp the opportunity and stay in the side.”
Bower’s side – who lie 15th –face a real form horse in fourth-placed Eastleigh, who stunned Crewe Alexandra on their own patch in the FA Cup last weekend and the Nethermoor chief is under no illusions about the task ahead.
He added: “They are in really good form and have won something like eight out of their last nine away games and have just beaten a Football League side in the FA Cup, so it will be a very tough one especially with a few missing through injury and suspension.
“It will be backs to the wall. But we have shown enough quality in the past few games to know we can cause teams problems.
“If we cut out the mistakes from the other night, I’m sure we will give them a good game.”
Despite Tuesday’s hefty loss at Cheltenham, Bower is keen to now move on, labelling the setback as the proverbial bad day at the office.
He added: “They blew us away in the first twenty minutes really and that professionalism they have got – all their players had been in training since Monday and a lot of our lads worked on Tuesday morning and then got straight on the bus to go down there – made it difficult.
“But we have to deal with things better and the two goals they scored in the first ten minutes were avoidable and after riding out that storm a bit, we actually showed in the first half that we could cause them problems.
“But the game was lost in that first ten or fifteen minutes and once the red card happened, it was damage limitation really.
“We were unlucky with the third which looked offside and the fourth was a bit of a lucky ricochet. But we know we are going to get some difficult days against some big teams and our season won’t be defined by those games.
“It is the ones against the teams around us and the home games that will. We need to put that game to bed and learn from it.
“We are not in a bad position and have to make sure we at least maintain that or improve it.”
Elsewhere, FC Halifax welcome Braintree, while action in Vanarama North sees fourth-placed Harrogate Town host Alfreton and Bradford Park Avenue go to Chorley.
PONTEFRACT COLLIERIES are advertising for a new manager after Nick Handley’s dramatic exit from the club on Wednesday night.
Handley was relieved of his duties two hours before he was due to take charge of training, with assistants Craig Rouse and Simon Houghton also leaving with the winds of change currently blowing through Beechnut Lane.
A new and as yet unnamed chairman has been recruited by Colls, currently in 15th spot in NCEL Division One, with interviews regarding the vacant managerial post to take place over the next fortnight.
A statement from the club said: “We would like to take this opportunity to thank Nick for his input over the past few years as player, club captain and lately as manager.
“His contribution has been tremendous and we would not have achieved promotion without his efforts. We wish him all the best for the future.
“Following the club’s advertisement last month, a new chairman has been recruited who we believe has the right qualities to help take the club forwards and provide us with financial stability.
“A further statement will follow on the new chairman, but prior to that he has said that he wishes to bring in his own management team.
“He will therefore be conducting interviews within the next fortnight and recruiting people that he believes have the right skills and experience to take the club forwards. With approximately a thousand new houses being built around the Colls ground, the new chairman will oversee the necessary improvements to the club’s infrastructure and facilities which will further its ambitions.”
Colls host Garforth Town tomorrow, weather permitting, while second-placed Tadcaster welcome Thackley. A pitch inspection will take place at Clayborn at 10am tomorrow ahead of Liversedge’s scheduled home match with Retford. Elsewhere, Albion Sports head to rock-bottom Brigg Town.
Activity in the NCEL Division One sees leaders Hemsworth MW entertain fourth-placed Penistone Church in the division’s game of the day.
Knaresborough Town host Hallam, while Selby are at home to Rossington.
Glasshoughton go to Shirebrook, with Yorkshire Amateur hosting Teversal.
FRICKLEY ATHLETIC have been handed a home date with Darlington 1883 in the second round of the Integro Doodson Sports Cup.
Other ties see Farsley Celtic, conquerors of Shaw Lane Aquaforce, welcome Stocksbridge Park Steels while Ossett Albion and Ossett Town have been handed away ties, to Scarborough Athletic and Spennymoor Town respectively. The ties will be played on December 1.
Action in the Evo-Stik Premier tomorrow, weather permitting, sees Karl Rose’s Frickley welcome Stamford.
Second-from bottom Farsley, who broke a cycle of five successive losses with a welcome cup victory in midweek, entertain Scarborough Athletic.
Brighouse Town – just outside the play-off positions in seventh place – make the short trip to Graham Nicholas’s Ossett Town, but new signing Mark Betts is unlikely to feature. Ossett Albion will be aiming for a third successive win in all competitions, when they visit Glossop North End, who are lying in second spot.
Albion recently boosted their ranks by signing ex-England youth international George Green, who famously moved to Everton at the age of 15 in a £2m move from Bradford City.
Green failed to establish himself at Goodison Park and was released in the summer before linking up with Oldham Athletic.
But he has now left the Latics and has joined Albion for the rest of the season.
Harrogate Rail host Kendal Town.