HAVING finished 19th last season, avoiding an exit from Vanarama National League North, Guiseley have made five pre-season signings.

Experienced central defender Hamza Bencherif, 31, joins strikers Aaron Martin, 27, and Gabriel Johnson, 22, who were both at Brighouse Town last season, midfielder Jamie Spencer, 21, and Andrai Jones - the 27-year-old defender, a former Everton youth player.

The new faces join winger Kaine Felix, 24, and youngsters Tabish Hussain, 18, fullback/mid-fielder George Cantrill, 19, winger Scott Smith, 20, and defender Will Thornton, who were all with Guiseley last season but have all signed new contracts with the club.

Manager Marcus Bignot, preparing for his second season in joint charge with Russ O’Neill at Nethermoor Park, said: “Hamza Bencherif is a former Algerian under-20 – everyone can see the kind of recruits we’re making – we had to deal with financial debt last season and weren’t able to build last year – now we have a few decent signings, a couple of them unproven.

“We are trying to build - Hamza has experience and personality and he should be able to help the young players moving forward.

“We have a few players from Sheffield United, who the club has a long-standing relationship with.

“Our new strategy is to go to clubs and help develop their players.

“We want to be established in this league and we want to be at the right end of the table and if you’re competing at this level then anything’s possible.

“Being in that top half and competing in that top half, you’re never far away from the play-offs.

“We did the job last year and now it’s something we want to build on and be at the right end of the table.”

Bignot emphasised the athleticism of these new signings: “They will add a lot of power.

“It’s going to take time, but, hopefully, the fans can see with the recruitment we’ve made that we’re putting in the building blocks to change the style of play, develop and get those results too.

“We’re just at the start of the season now and starting this rebuild.

“We’ve got to go to the professional clubs and ask if they need help bringing on players, we’ve got to go into the lower leagues and give players the opportunity to develop, and this way we’ll be helping ourselves too.”