Lions boss Steve Kittrick believes the fact that neighbours Bradford City have picked up three of their players shows the gap between non-league and lower league football has closed.

Last year, Guiseley lost James Hanson to the Bantams, who ended the season as their leading scorer.

The Nethermoor outfit received compensation but in somewhat acrimonious circumstances after the clubs failed to agree on figures and the decision went to an FA tribunal.

Now Guiseley have seen the Bantams take Dave Syers and Chib Chilaka from Kittrick’s squad.

The Guiseley chief said: “Bradford have raided us again. We had Syers signed up and Chib was with us as well, and we could start thinking its personal.

“I’m sure it isn’t and we might have to start talking numbers with them again about Dave’s move.

“What it does show is that there isn’t much of a gap between us and them.

“The divide between the Conference and the lower divisions of the Football League has been narrowing over the past few years.”

Despite those departures, and that of Adam Muller, who went to Eastwood Town, Guiseley have still strengthened their squad over the close season.

“We have got some good players in to add to what we had and it has been quite a good start to the season,” said Kittrick before today’s trip to Vauxhall Motors. Guiseley have picked up five points from their first four league games.

“At the moment I have got a job on picking a team because it means leaving a lot of quality players out.

“We have had to tell the lads that they will get their chances but they are going to have to be patient and train well.

“We have something to live up to after last season’s title win but the expectations are different to last year.

“We were one of the favourites for the league then, while now we are in a higher division.

“We have to learn and make the most of teams not knowing much about us because we are the new boys.

“We will have to be quick to pick it up, though, because the board have told me that the target is the play-offs at least. That is pressure but you want to be involved at a club that has high aspirations.”