GUISELEY boss Paul Cox is desperate to sign a centre back to bolster his side's defence.

The Lions have conceded 50 goals in 27 games – the worst record in the National League – and an injury to Jake Lawlor has made the signing of a new defender a priority.

Lawlor's knee problem is expected to keep him on the sidelines for two months and Cox has made getting a replacement his top target.

Heading into the weekend his hunt had been futile, despite endless phone calls with agents and clubs, and Cox admitted: "The last few days have been manic.

"I seem to have been on the phone constantly. Everybody is on the hunt for players and it is a case of working hard to get what you want.

"My priority is a centre back. I want to make sure we have cover for every eventuality for the remaining 19 games of the season."

Last Saturday's 4-2 defeat at Eastleigh was a microcosm of Guiseley's season. Their defensive frailties were punished and an inability to turn clear-cut chances into goals was exposed.

"Despite conceding a goal in the first minute, we could have had the game sewed up inside the opening 30 minutes," said Cox.

"We squandered three clear-cut chances and had another effort cleared off the line."

Guiseley have only scored 25 goals in 27 matches and Cox will be hoping his newest recruit, Dayle Southwell, will drastically improve that figure.

The striker was signed from League Two club Wycombe on Tuesday and was due to make his Lions debut at AFC Fylde today.

Southwell, 24, built a big reputation for himself with National League North side Boston United, netting 52 goals in 77 games.

Cox said: "I used to see him playing quite a lot for Boston and tried to take him to Barrow when I was there. He is a natural goal-scorer and has the quality in-front of goal that we have been lacking.

"At Wycombe he was being asked to play wide on the right but he is somebody that is at his best inside the box.

"He is a hard-working player who can create goals for himself. He has the ability to score all kinds of goals, as his record shows.

"Tap-ins, headers, shots from close range and shots from outside the box were all in his repertoire at Boston.

"When I heard he was available, I was delighted to be able to get him on board. We need to score goals and start winning games."

Despite being nine points from safety, Cox remains confident that the Lions can extract themselves from the relegation zone.

He said: "Nobody is putting a run of wins together in the bottom eight. I am sure that with two games in hand on most of our rivals, we can turn things around."

* PHYSIO Martin Stringfellow has left Guiseley by mutual consent after ten years at Nethermoor.

Stringfellow's other commitments meant he was unable to make the transition following the Lions' move to become a full-time club.