Guiseley under the weather as festive games go down the drain

Bradford Telegraph and Argus: Guiseley boss Mark Bower will keep an eye on injured duo Guiseley boss Mark Bower will keep an eye on injured duo

Guiseley’s hopes of extending their impressive 15-game unbeaten run have been dealt a double blow by the weather.

Their home games with Gains- borough Trinity on Saturday and Harrogate Town on New Year’s Day were both washed out.

The waterlogged Nethermoor pitch meant that the Lions were left kicking their heels while most of their rivals in the congested Skrill North promotion race were completing their festive pro- grammes.

“It is a blow having one match off but two home games is disapp- ointing, especially at this time of the year,” said manager Mark Bower, who has seen his side take 24 points out of the last 30.

“We hadn’t planned to train over the festive period because we were due to play four matches, but we have had to change things around.

“The squad trained on Monday and we will have another session tonight to prepare for Saturday’s game at Brackley.

“At least the break has given one or two players the chance to recover from injury, but it means another two matches that have to be re-arranged and we have lost a little ground in the table.

“We will also be playing in the FA Trophy on Saturday week when there is a programme of league matches, but it is nice being successful and something we have to deal with.”

It is testimony to the closeness of this year’s Skrill North that Guiseley ended 2013 in tenth place and were just 12 points behind leaders Telford with two games in hand.

Bower said: “It is incredibly tight at the top. I was told the other day that at the same stage of last season we were second in the table and a greater number of points behind the leaders, Chester.

“This league has been so competitive that it seems we have had new leaders virtually every week. Colwyn Bay have roared up the table on the back of a good run and even climbed above us.”

Bower added: “It is slightly frustrating that we have actually gone down a couple of places despite our unbeaten league run.”

Guiseley’s last action was their 3-2 Boxing Day win at Harrogate Town when a hat-trick of penalties from Gavin Rothery secured the points.

Danny Hall was withdrawn at half-time after suffering a slight hamstring strain. His fitness will be monitored at tonight’s training session when the manager will also look at the progress striker Danny Forrest is making from a similar injury.

“At the moment I would say their chances are 50-50 at the moment,” said Bower. “We won’t take any risks with muscle injuries at a time of the year when we are playing on heavy pitches and you can do more damage.”

Centre back Adam Lockwood would have been fit for selection for New Year’s Day after missing the previous four games and the experienced former Doncaster Rovers, Yeovil and Bury defender is available for selection.

Bower is expecting a tough test at Brackley where his side will face one of the leading contenders for promotion.

The Oxfordshire side knocked League One Gillingham out of this season’s FA Cup and are an ambitious outfit.

It was a 2-0 home defeat by Brackley which brought Steve Kittrick’s managerial reign to an end and catapulted Bower into the Nethermoor hot seat.

Bower said: “They are a strong and disciplined side and all of them know their jobs.

“It is good to be going into the match with the confidence an unbeaten run gives you.”

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