Guiseley must battle with 'billionaire' club for promotion

Action from Guiseley's most recent league match against Gainsborough Trinity

Action from Guiseley's most recent league match against Gainsborough Trinity

First published in Sport by

GUISELEY enjoyed a terrific start to the season but things have begun to even themselves out and the Vanarama Conference North table is taking shape.

Lions manager Mark Bower believes that some of the best-equipped sides will take even longer to settle, although he is sure that the cream will rise to the top.

The former Bantams defender said: "I think it will be a very interesting league this season, with ten to 12 teams having a realistic chance of finishing top of the pile.

"Last season it was any of eight or nine and that was competitive enough.

"I think Barrow will be one of the favourites with the money that the Texas billionaire (Paul Casson) is bringing in. He is an Englishman who was born in Cumbria and used to go to Barrow as a kid with his dad.

"I believe it was his dad who emigrated and got his son interested in the oil business and now he comes back with some money to invest in his home-town club.

"They (Barrow) have signed a few players from a higher level but they will be just one of the sides bidding for promotion.

"The sides that finished well last season will all be added to the list and I think Harrogate Town have gone up another level as well.

"Tamworth have come in and will want to go back up again, while Chorley and AFC Fylde are very dangerous.

"They have come up and will have the momentum with them. I always find that promoted sides are used to winning and high on confidence."

Another club Bower expects to be up there at the end of the season are Bradford Park Avenue – if they can keep their players fit.

"Our neighbours are like us in that they haven't got lots of money or a big squad but they have got lots of quality," said the Guiseley boss.

"They have brought in a couple of class players in Scott (Kerr) and Joe (Colbeck) and they have got Jack (Rea), who we obviously know all about and he is a good player.

"Avenue did well to hold on to their best players. I think that was John's (Avenue boss Deacey) best business over the summer.

"Alex Davidson, Nathan Hotte and Paul Walker were all being looked at by clubs at this level with big budgets and clubs a bit higher up.

"I'm sure Avenue will be challenging right through, so they have to be seen as promotion candidates – along with half of the clubs in our league."

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