Bower looking forward to Halifax return after promotion

Vanarama Conference North Play -off Final. Chorley FC v Guiseley AFC. Guiseley's manager Mark Bower lifts the trophy. 9th May 2015. Picture Jonathan Gawthorpe.
Vanarama Conference North Play -off Final. Chorley FC v Guiseley AFC. Guiseley's manager Mark Bower lifts the trophy. 9th May 2015. Picture Jonathan Gawthorpe.

Former Town captain Mark Bower and his ex-Shaymen at Guiseley are relishing the prospect of a return to their old club after sealing promotion to the Conference.

Danny Lowe and Ryan Toulson both started while Alex Johnson was an unused substitute as The Lions produced a sensational comeback to beat James Dean’s Chorley 3-2 having trailed 2-0 at half-time.

Bower said the former Halifax men had played their part in the club’s promotion, and is now looking forward to a reunion next season.

He said: “AJ had a bit of a stop-start season and had a few injuries.

“Danny and Ryan both played the majority of the games and we used their experience of promotion in the past.

“And their leadership qualities have been a big plus for us.

“Obviously they’re looking forward to next season, getting up into that league and playing against Halifax.

“It should be a good atmosphere for the games and one of the first fixtures you’ll be looking for when they get announced.”

The former Bradford defender has proved an inspired appointment at Nethermoor and achieved promotion in his first full season in charge.

“I started in the job in September last year and the aim that season was consolidation,” he reflected.

“Then this season promotion was the target.

“We had a few injuries along the way so it was difficult at times not being able to pick our strongest side.

“The play-offs were the target from fairly early on so we were prepared for that and we were able to rest a few players at times.

“Thankfully we got enough of our better players available when it mattered.”

Bower is now looking to the likes of previous play-off winners Altrincham and Halifax for inspiration.

“We want to be competitive in that league,” he said.

“Teams that have gone up through the play-offs in the last couple of seasons have done well.

“Getting in the play-offs was a remarkable achievement for Halifax.

“You never know but realistically we have to make sure we’re competitive and pick up points when we can.”

Bower praised the job Neil Aspin has done at Halifax and is sure the Town boss will have a productive summer in the transfer market.

He added: “Neil’s done an unbelievable job there.

“I think getting in the play-offs raised expectations higher than they ever should have been.

“Even this season, some of the teams they finished above have got much bigger budgets.

“It’s been a really good season and probably the first time in a long time they’ve not been involved in the play-offs or a promotion race.

“I know he’s looking to rebuild and make a few changes and with his history in the transfer market I’m sure he’ll get it right.”