Just six days after their crushing – and downright embarassing – 5-1 National League North derby thrashing at the hands of Mark Bower’s rampant Bradford Park Avenue, the wounded Lions have the chance of a quickfire redemption.
As a first step in the healing process, Saturday’s 2-2 draw with play-off chasing Altrincham, which saw Niall Heaton and Will Hatfield find the net in a dramatic game, was a welcome enough development with Guiseley producing a much-improved performance at Nethermoor.
But co-manager Russ O’Neill is the first to acknowledge that further improvement must be seen today if the Lions are to afford themselves some derby payback at the hands of a strong Avenue side, who currently lead the way at the top of the table.
O’Neill said: “We will be going there trying to get something out of the game.
“We can roll our sleeves up and work as hard as we can, but let’s not hide away from the fact that we have played two really good teams in the past two games.
“We were not ready for the first one and got what we deserved. On Saturday we had it all on to get the point and it was a great reaction.
“Bradford will be just as much a difficult game as Saturday’s was, but we will be ready for a tough game.
“We are looking forward to the challenge.”
On taking positives from Saturday’s performance, O’Neill added: “One hundred per cent, we were under no illusions how difficult it was going to be especially after our previous performance.
“Whether that was a bad performance or not, Saturday was always going to be a tough test against a really good team. Altrincham had knocked Bradford out of both cups before, so we knew the manner of the task.
“I think they showed how much of a good team they are, but our reaction from Boxing Day’s performance was good and it was a well-earned point.
“It was frustrating that we put that performance in on Boxing Day – which we are still hurting about – and put Saturday’s performance in and the ones against the likes of Cambridge in the Cup.
“That is the frustrating thing for us and we need to find that consistency.
“But more than the point, the way the group reacted (on Saturday) was the big winner.”
Guiseley handed a debut in goal to Marcus Dewhurst – a loan signing from Sheffield United – on Saturday and he is likely to continue between the posts today after the club elected to freshen up their goalkeeping ranks and hand Joe Green a breather.
O’Neill said: “He is a young goalkeeper who we have known about for quite some time and he is well thought of. The goalkeeping coach at Sheffield United is someone who I have known since he played at my previous club (Alfreton) and he speaks really highly of him.
“We just thought we needed a little change and maybe Joe coming out a little bit. It might just help both parties. Marcus came in and did really well.”