Guiseley boss Steve Kittrick has been quietly strengthening his squad over the summer as the Lions gear up for their first season in the Conference North.

The fixtures of the Blue Square National Conference, the feeder league to England’s fifth division, begin a fortnight tomorrow.

Guiseley have a tough eight-day start with a home game against Nuneaton Town in their opening fixture before trips to Gainsborough Trinity on Tuesday and Stafford Rangers the following Saturday.

Six major signings have arrived in pre-season and all are of the right age and standard to fit straight in.

Former Bradford Park Avenue attacking midfielder Matty James joined Stalybridge Celtic pair Joe O’Neill and Warren Payton, then in the past week another three newcomers pitched up.

Tom Penford needs no introduction locally after making 23 appearances for Bradford City. He moved to Farsley Celtic, who were then in the Blue Square North, when Stuart McCall released him from Valley Parade.

Gavin Rothery is another midfielder, who started with home-town club Leeds United and was in the England under-19s squad in 2006. He moved to York City and Harrogate Town but joins the Lions from Carlisle United, for whom he played six games last season.

Also signed is Skipton-born defender Jake McEneaney, who joined Burnley as a youth and progressed through the ranks to play for their first team. He is a current youth international with Wales, having represented them at both under-17 and under-19 level, and is still only 18.

Guiseley spokesman Stuart Allen said: “They were all involved in the midweek friendly at Clitheroe, as was Luke Sharry.

“Joe has missed some of the games through injury and Jez Fitzgerald and Chris Holland have been left out because of little knocks but they are all coming good at the same time.

“We have tomorrow’s game at Farsley and then we finish off the friendlies with a home game against Gateshead next Saturday.

“Steve wanted a free midweek to work with the squad and he will have a full week to prepare them for Nuneaton. I’m sure by then he will have a clear idea of who will be in his first starting line-up.”