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Guiseley hoping to go under the radar again
Guiseley’s pre-season seemed to be either feast or famine as results lurched from the sublime to the ridiculous but the management duo of Steve Kittrick and Chris Holland will be expecting consistency now.
The Lions open their season with a trip to Cambridgeshire to take on Histon.
Despite finishing as Blue Square Bet North Division runners-up last season, Kittrick has played down their chances of promotion this term, pointing instead to neighbours FC Halifax Town, Harrogate Town and newcomers Chester FC to be among the favourites.
It will be seen by Guiseley’s rivals and most observers as a ruse by the wily Kittrick to defer any counter-productive over-hype.
The boss would like his team to fly along under the radar until the business end of the campaign.
That appears unlikely as they pushed title winners Hyde all the way last season and have strengthened during the close season, suggesting that they will once again be consistent enough to challenge.
Histon proved to be difficult opponents last term, with both fixtures ending in 2-2 draws.
Guiseley will be hoping to beat a hoodoo as Cambridgeshire was not exactly a happy hunting ground last term.
They only gained a point against Histon in the league and had an FA Trophy quarter-final tie at Cambridge United postponed three times last February, in the middle of a cruel winter, before losing 1-0 at the fourth attempt.
Talismanic striker James Walshaw (swollen ankle) and new signing Chris Mason (hamstring) both missed the Lions’ final friendly, a 3-0 defeat at Ossett Town last Saturday.
Lions’ spokesman Stuart Allen said: “Steve thinks Wally will have the best chance of making Saturday's game, while Chris remains doubtful but, apart from that, he has a full squad to pick from after the week leading up to this opening league game was left clear for training purposes only.”