MARK BOWER believes fit-again Oli Johnson can prove a trump card in Guiseley’s quest to secure a second season of National League football.
The mercurial forward made his long-awaited comeback from a serious injury in the 2-2 midweek draw with Tranmere Rovers – almost netting a late winner in the process – with Lions chief Bower admitting his return comes at a timely juncture.
Guiseley, who visit Bromley today, still have work to do to ensure their inaugural campaign at this level is not their last.
As it stands, the 18th-placed Nethermoor outfit are five points above the side occupying the final relegation slot in Altrincham with 11 games to go.
Bower is banking on Johnson’s off-the-cuff attacking qualities turning a game or two in his side’s favour before season’s end.
On the return of Johnson, who made his seasonal bow from the bench, Bower, whose side came from behind twice to draw with Tranmere, said: “You miss that quality and he’s got that little turn of pace and that little trick and he buys himself a couple of yards.
“The chance against Tranemere opened up nicely and I was right behind it and it just didn’t have enough to curl back into that far corner.
“It would have been fantastic for him if that had gone into the net after the nightmare period he’s had, really.
“You really felt for him doing his work and not being able to get on the pitch.
“But, hopefully, the operations he had and rehab he has done will stand him in good stead now and we can gradually build him up and supporters can see the player that he is.
“We know that he’s a match-winner for us and he’s been sorely, sorely missed.
“We have lost a similar amount as teams going for the play-offs but in those tight games that have ended in draws a little bit of magic from Oli could have turned one or two for us.
“He has been a big miss, but we will look after him right to get a bit more out of him for the rest of the season.
“We can’t expect too much too soon, but it’s great to have him back in our side.
“I think he gave everyone a lift when he came on the pitch, not just the lads on the pitch, but the supporters in the ground as well.”
Guiseley are seeking a double today after a 2-0 home win.