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22:30 24th December 2015

Guiseley Preview

Town head to Guiseley this Boxing Day in what will be the first of two festive games against the Lions.

The Mariners go into the fixture on the back of two wins against Dover Athletic and Solihull Moors in the league and FA Trophy respectively, whilst they are unbeaten in their last five National League games since the defeat to Cheltenham in October.

Newly promoted Guiseley are currently 17th in the National League and have slowly adjusted to life at this level after promotion from the National League North via the play-offs last season. Mark Bower's side have been slightly leaky at the back, letting in 41 goals this campaign and have struggled against the better sides in the league so far. Most of their points have been picked up against the sides near the bottom of the league, which has helped create an eight point cushion between them and the relegation places.    

The clubs came up against each other for the first time in the fourth qualifying round of the FA Cup last October and on that day, two goals from Lenell John-Lewis and another from Nathan Arnold saw Town come out 3-0 victors. A similar result would be welcome and with it being the first of three games in a week for the Mariners, Town boss Paul Hurst will be hoping to head into the local derby against Lincoln City on Monday with three points.


Town's only real injury concern ahead of the game is Andy Monkhouse, who is struggling with an achilles injury that has been troubling him. Jon-Paul Pittman is still a long term absentee with the dislocated shoulder he suffered against Shrewsbury, but the Mariners should have a fully fit squad other than that. Guiseley have a fully fit squad available, which means ex-Town pair Rob Atkinson and Danny Boshell could both play against their former club.

The Lions are currently managed by ex-Bradford player Mark Bower, who is in his first managerial role after replacing Steve Kittrick in October 2013. 

Bower made over 200 appearances during his playing days for Bradford and went on to play for York, Luton, Darlington and Halifax before he first moved to Guiseley as a player in 2011.

He is also assisted by former Town midfielder Danny Boshell at the club.


Defender James Hurst was one of Torquay's most consistent performers at the beginning of the season, unusually scoring seven goals from right back and generally being one of their biggest attacking threats from deep so far, so it was somewhat of a coup for Guiseley when they were able to bring him in on loan in November.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, he began as a right winger, starting at West Brom before opting to sign a professional deal at Portsmouth and then returning to West Brom, where he was capped by England from U16 up to U20 level. 

After only one first team appearance at the Hawthorns and numerous loan spells at the likes of Blackpool, Birmingham and Shrewsbury, he went to Iceland to join Valur and spent two separate spells there, with a return to England with Crawley Town being between his time in Scandinavia. He returned to England permanently to join Hednesford Town in the National League North last year before leaving to join the Gulls in the summer. An off the field incident saw Hurst leave Torquay, but he brings a lot of quality to the Lions'  ranks on the pitch.




''It’s an important time, we are just starting the second half of the season now.“Games pass you by very quickly, and then suddenly you are close to the run-in.“The next couple of months are extremely important for us, because we want to give ourselves the best possible chance.“ Paul Hurst

“It’s a massive, massive game. There’s been lots of tickets sold and from what I’ve seen in the league this year, they [Grimsby] are the best side in it. I’m sure the lads will enjoy themselves [over Christmas] but within limitations and make sure they’re properly right for Boxing Day because if they’re not, coming up against a side like Grimsby, we’ll get found out.'' Mark Bower

Catch the full pre match interview/