PAT McGuire wasn’t in attendance when his Thackley side last took to the field on December 28-Harley Hirst (Reserve team manager) instead overseeing proceedings.

But it was Hirst who guided the Bradford side to a brilliant 2-0 away victory against Garforth Town on that day, with goals coming from Will Jackson and Lewis Waddington to ensure Thackley collected a well-deserved festive three points.

The victory was certainly one that caught the eye, with Garforth currently sitting in third in the league standings and in the absence of McGuire, Thackley pulled through and their boss was delighted.

He said: “I’ve been away for the last two games, so I left Harley Hirst in charge of the side. To see that result against Garforth was really pleasing because they are a really good side, and it shows that on our day we can compete with any team in the division.

“We have to give huge credit to Harley and the team for delivering when I was away. They’ve done me proud.

“We did lose the first fixture against Winterton, but we had a goal dubiously ruled out for offside, we missed a penalty and we also missed a handful of chances. There were positive signs from that game, and it seemed as though we took them positives into the Garforth game.

“And for us, keeping a clean sheet is extremely important for our confidence because we don’t get many of them.”

McGuire does return to the dugout this weekend as he casts an eye over his side’s trip to Staveley Miners Welfare.

The hosts currently sit two places above Thackley in 11th and are on a three-game winning streak, whilst they’ve also brought in a new manager.

For Thackley, McGuire will be keen for his side to build further momentum following their heroic performance at Garforth on December 28.

He said: “We are always confident going into games, but it’s just a question of which Thackley will turn up. As mentioned, we can cause problems to any side but it’s about focusing and getting that performance right.

“We will certainly be looking to build on the Garforth display, because if you don’t build on a performance like that, then it almost counts for nothing.”

McGuire added: “Staveley have got a new manager in, so they’ll be looking at it from a fresh point of view.

“They’ve had a few good results in recent weeks, so their confidence will be high. They’ve also got a young and eager squad, and I’m expecting a tough game.

“The club have installed a 4G pitch too which we’ll be playing on. That could actually suit us this weekend because of the way we play. It’s much easier to get the ball down and play on the floor.”

Despite the current covid climate, McGuire is expecting his side to be close to full strength, which will come as a huge boost for the Bradford side.

It's clear that Thackley are benefitting from their large squad in these challenging times.