Guiseley hit the highs after some Lowe blows

MANAGER’S HEADACHE: The fine form of Oli Johnson, seen running at Stockport County’s defence, is just one reason why Mark Bower has selection issues

MANAGER’S HEADACHE: The fine form of Oli Johnson, seen running at Stockport County’s defence, is just one reason why Mark Bower has selection issues

First published in Sport
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MARK Bower set his players an initial target of winning their first three matches this season in Vanarama Conference North.

After a 1-0 victory at Leamington last Saturday and a 3-0 triumph at home to Stockport County on Tuesday night, the table-topping Lions have another match at Nethermoor tomorrow against Worcester City.

However, the Dragons, who have started the campaign with a couple of draws, were the last team to win a league match at Guiseley way back in February.

Since that 1-0 setback, though, the Lions have won 12 straight at Nethermoor – 11 last season, including a play-off victory over North Ferriby United, and the Stockport County success.

The Lions lost just three games between the Worcester setback and the end of the season – the West Riding County Cup semi-final, at Hednesford United in the league and the play-off final at Altrincham.

Nevertheless, Bower is steeling his team for a stiff test as they bid for lucky 13, saying: "It has been incredible to start with two wins and two clean sheets but Worcester are a very solid outfit and we struggled against them last year, also drawing 0-0 away, and this will definitely be the toughest of the three."

Guiseley's early-season victories are in stark contrast to the mood around the club 13 days ago.

The Lions had drawn their final pre-season friendly 0-0 at Farsley AFC but, more importantly, the visitors had just lost their centre backs Danny Hall (broken tibula) and Danny Lowe (groin).

Since then, Danny Ellis and Ben Parker have helped the Guiseley defence to keep those two clean sheets, they are top of the fledgling table on alphabetical order from North Ferriby and on goal difference from Boston United, and Nethermoor is a much happier place.

Bower, who knows all about featuring in the middle of the defence, said of his centre-half pairing: "They have played together at the back before, which is why I moved Ben across, and have done well, but they are different types of centre halves.

"Danny is more aggressive and likes to head the ball, while Ben sweeps up behind, is quick and reads the game well.

"As things stand at the moment, with Danny Lowe being back in a few weeks and Alex McQuade being signed, we will not be adding to our squad as we have enough cover in all positions.

"Danny Ellis wasn't as fit as I would have liked him to be in pre-season but maybe a holiday in the Caribbean is how we should all prepare!"

Bower is working with a small but versatile squad, and said: “To say we have players missing, we have still had a strong bench for the first two games.

"I’ve got selection headaches for the right reasons because the lads who played last Saturday deserved to keep the shirts.

“OJ (Oli Johnson) and Danny (Forrest) were not overly involved in the friendlies but they played 90 minutes on Saturday and were ready to go into another high-tempo game three days later.

"We will see how everyone is today after last night's training session before selecting the team.”

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