At home, Guiseley have picked up 26 points from their 17 games at home, eight wins, two draws and seven defeats. With Bish’s exciting young side targeting a maximum haul, there could be a certain degree of symmetry to the home side’s league table facts and figures! With 24 goals scored and 23 conceded, I think many of the Trinity faithful would be content with a gritty 0-1 away win, a scoreline that has so far evaded the grasp of the Blues, either at home, or away. With nine cup finals remaining, now is as good a time as any, to record a first 1-0 win of the campaign!
Blues’ boss Neal Bishop has something of a selection headache, with the role of his substitutes in last weekend’s come from behind victory. Harry Lewis coming on at half time and scoring twice, son of former Blues’ Assistant Manager Terry Fleming, playing a telling role in the winning goal, and generally looking a threat alongside leading marksman Clayton Donaldson. He adds an extra option to the front line, while Andrew Wright reminded everybody of what he is all about with his thirty minute cameo, inspiring his team mates, as he led by example at the heart of the Trinity engine room. With plenty available from those that didn’t finish the game last weekend, it’s certainly going to be interesting to see which way Bish and Stampy lean, in the build up to kick off.
Former Matlock managerial duo, Phillips and assistant, Kayde Coppin have been in post since November 30th, picking up eight wins in all competitions and five defeats, including to higher league Halifax in the FA Trophy. And two goal-less draws in the last three games, prior to last weekend's loss to Radcliffe have stalled the Lions play-off push lately, but the Holy Blues will need to be at their scintillating best to return to Lincolnshire with all three points in the bag and noses firmly in the hunt, as the end of season run in begins to gather pace!
Earlier in the season, the two sides played out a 1-1 draw at the Dave Longstaff Martin and Co Arena, Liam Waldock's strike earning the Holy Blues a share of the points. A former thorn in the Trinity side, Scott Bakkor has recently joined Guiseley from Atherton Collieries. The 28 year old front man signed permanently from the Colls, and committed his future for the remainder of this, and next season.
Lions manager Paul Phillips has also brought in striker Benni Smales-Braithwaite for a month from Barrow in a further attempt to bolster his attacking options. Meanwhile, forward Adam Haw has departed the club for Atherton, while Jake Cassidy remains an injury doubt. Former Scunthorpe United right back Isaac Assenso has also bolstered the Lions' ranks, having arrived on a one month loan from Farsley Celtic.
Following Trinity’s inactivity in midweek, three sides above us in the hunt for an end of season play-off place, played out a win, draw and a defeat to all start the weekend on 55 points. This giving a four point cushion over the chasing Holy Blues, though Neal Bishop’s Trinity side do have a game in hand over Warrington Town, currently sitting in 3rd place, with a much superior goal difference.
With the other fixtures to be played this afternoon, sides are set to take points off one another, especially at Cantilever Park where Warrington Town take on fifth place Bamber Bridge. Second place Hyde are on the road, travelling to Nantwich Town boosted by the arrival of new boss Paul Carden back in the NPL after an ill-fated stint at AFC Telford United in the National League North. The fixtures in full are:
Atherton Collieries vs Marine
Fc United of Manchester vs Liversedge
Lancaster City vs Morpeth Town
Marske United vs South Shields
Matlock Town vs Ashton United
Nantwich Town vs Hyde United
Stafford Rangers vs Warrington Rylands
Stalybridge Celtic vs Belper Town
Warrington Town vs Bamber Bridge
Whitby Town vs Radcliffe
But, whatever happens on Saturday afternoon, it will not define the remainder of the season. There are plenty more twists and turns on the horizon, so strap right in and enjoy the ride. Life as a Trinity fan is never dull!
Preview by Rob Hughes (@aatmmedia)