MARK BOWER has called for cool heads from his Guiseley players in tonight’s Nethermoor derby cauldron against FC Halifax Town (7.45pm).
Both sides head into this evening’s National League clash desperately seeking the tonic of a morale-boosting win, with the Lions without a victory in six matches, although they are unbeaten in their past three outings, which have all ended in draws.
Neil Aspin’s Shaymen make the short trip east on the back of a slow start to the campaign, with Halifax third-from-bottom in the table after just one win from their opening nine league matches.
The game sees several players renew acquaintances with their old clubs, with Lions stars Will Hatfield, Rob Atkinson, Ryan Toulson and Danny Lowe all former Halifax players, with the stakes high for several this evening.
But Bower is preaching the importance of calm, while also reading little into Halifax’s lacklustre start to 2015-16 either.
He said: “Both sides are desperate for the points and it will be a big one from that point of view, as well as it being a derby.
“But the lads have got to play with their heads. There is that extra incentive to do well, but we must treat it like any other game and be sensible and play to our strengths.
“We have a few ex-Halifax lads in our side who will be keen to do well, while they will see this as a real opportunity to get their season going.
“I remember playing in the fixture three or four years ago when we first came to Guiseley and we were on a really good run and they were struggling and they came and won the game 4-3.
“It doesn’t matter what sort of run they are currently on, it’s a local derby.
“Neil is someone I have played under and have got a lot of respect for and I am sure he will have his side well prepared and it will be a good game.
“It does take time to gel and they will be hoping they can start climbing the league. But if we go out and play the way we can, we can cause any teams problems at this level.”
Bower probably did not know whether to laugh or cry at the weekend, which saw his side rally from an early 2-0 deficit to take a point in a thrilling 4-4 draw with Woking at Nethermoor.
A last-gasp leveller from Jake Lawlor earned the 17th-placed Lions a point, with Bower’s side making light of their previous toils from goals, but equally leaving the back door ajar.
Bower, who is likely to freshen up his side tonight, said: “We let four goals in and you are never going to be pleased with that and I was disappointed with some of the performances.
“Overall, we have put in some good performances and the lads deserve credit. But we dropped below those standards against Woking.
“But that said, you must have an overwhelming sense of pride as even though things weren’t going for us, we kept going.”
Bower admits to mixed feelings at his side lining up against their nearest neighbours in midweek and while a fair contingent from Halifax will make for an above average gate, the numbers are not likely to have been as high as they would have been for a weekend fixture.
But equally, he sees the sense in a derby being played in midweek also.
He added: “It’s difficult. You don’t want to be going to Torquay on a Tuesday night and Halifax probably wouldn’t want to either.
“Coming here on a Tuesday night helps, although there would probably be a bigger crowd if it was on a Saturday afternoon.
“But that’s the league we are in and the away game is on a Saturday, so that should lead to a good atmosphere.”