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Local rivals Guiseley and Bradford Park Avenue meet in league and cup double-header
Guiseley host Bradford Park Avenue in a much-anticipated Skrill North local derby tonight.
And it will double as an FA Cup dress rehearsal after yesterday’s second qualifying-round draw paired the two clubs for a rematch a week on Saturday.
Mark Bower takes charge of the Lions for his second match and, following results at the weekend, his side are now below their visitors.
While Guiseley lost 3-0 at Boston United, John Deacey’s men came from a goal down to beat AFC Telford United 3-1.
Bower is hoping fellow former Bantams player Matt Clarke will be able to make his debut. The defender is awaiting international clearance after signing from Maltese outfit Marsaxlokk FC.
But there will definitely be additions to the Lions squad as Alex Johnson has signed from neighbours FC Halifax Town on a one-month loan deal. The young forward, Paul Ennis and Michael Burns, who recently returned for a second spell, are all available.
Avenue boss John Deacey has no need to change a winning team. Centre back James Knowles was not his usual confident and dominant self but goalkeeper John Lamb came to his rescue when needed and Knowles redeemed himself with a brave glancing header to cancel out Telford’s opener.
Deacey’s men will be seeking retribution after they outplayed Guiseley at Nethermoor in last season’s league encounter but were left empty-handed as the Lions won 1-0.
Guiseley beat their local rival on all three occasions last term as they also met in the West Riding County Cup. The FA Cup meeting in 11 days’ time will have even more significance and financial reward.
Brighouse Town are the only other local semi-professional club left in the FA Cup at this stage and they have been drawn away to Stockport County.
The former Football League outfit have tumbled down the pyramid but are still getting home crowds of 2,000-plus, so it is a big tie for Paul Quinn’s men.
Town must first focus on tonight’s visit of Pickering Town in the Toolstation Northern Counties East League Premier Division.
After finishing runners-up last season, Brighouse have endured a tough opening with two defeats and one abandonment (floodlight failure) in their first seven league fixtures.
Thackley hurtling along will have only added to Brighouse’s frustrations. The Dennyboys top the table with a game in hand and will be defending their 100 per cent start at fourth-placed Tadcaster Albion.
Liversedge are picking up after a poor start and they are also away from home in a Leeds/Bradford derby at sixth-placed Garforth Town. Sedge have climbed to 15th by winning three of their last five games.
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