Guiseley boss Steve Kittrick believes January will prove a pivotal point in the Blue Square Bet North promotion tussle.

Kittrick’s second-placed Lions have two games scheduled over the Christmas period but, with the weather looking unlikely to improve, both are at serious risk.

If the games at Harrogate Town on Boxing Day and home to Vauxhall Motors on December 28 do fall victim to the Arctic blast, Guiseley’s next game will be the Nethermoor clash with Harrogate on New Year’s Day.

But Kittrick is wary not to allow his players’ usual routine to be disrupted too much and believes that whoever hits the ground running when fixtures finally resume will be best placed to win the title.

He said: “Being realistic, it’s horrendous. I don’t know what the forecast is but it’s looking like our next game may well be the home game against Harrogate on New Year’s Day.

“We try and do our best with the circumstances and it’s the same for every team. I think the team that comes out of this period mentally and physically strongest will do well in January.

“Hopefully we can do that but it’s just a case of finding the facilities to train because every team in the region is in the same boat, so facilities are in short supply.

“It’s about keeping the lads fit and sharp. We trained the other night at Sheffield, where we’ve been able to find somewhere indoors, and will probably go to the gym tomorrow night.

“We try to do as much of our normal routine as we can. It’s important we keep preparing for games as usual.”

Kittrick admits the enforced break has helped keep his squad fresh in the middle of a gruelling campaign but the benefits could soon be outweighed by the consequences.

With Guiseley still competing in the FA Trophy and West Riding County Cup, as well as the league, they face a serious fixture backlog in the second half of the season.

“A rest will help the players but the problem is we will end up playing Saturday and Tuesday in many of the remaining weeks because we’ve got cup competitions to think about as well,” said Kittrick.

“We want to win everything in front of us but there comes a time when it will be really tough.

“It’s a big ask with a lot of games to fit in but, on a positive note, if someone had said at the start of the season we’d be joint-top of Conference North at the end of December, I’d have said ‘don’t be silly’.”