Fingers crossed that now is the time for Guiseley to rise

Guiseley players celebrate reaching the final after success against Fylde at Kellamergh Park, Warton. Picture: David Hurst

Guiseley players celebrate reaching the final after success against Fylde at Kellamergh Park, Warton. Picture: David Hurst

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IT is hardly any wonder that given Guiseley’s play-off history that Phil Rogerson has grown superstitious.

Four previous campaigns have resulted in four heart-breaking failures in the Conference North end-of-season lottery and no-one, certainly outside Chorley, would begrudge them a case of fifth time lucky at Victory Park tomorrow.

But given their previous, no-one connected with Guiseley is falling into the trap of expecting anything and they will not be any counting of chickens at Nethermoor between now and tomorrow afternoon.

As for advertising a glorious end-of-season promotion party back in Guiseley on Saturday night, no way...

A bit of fortune would be greatly appreciated, mind you, with chairman Rogerson to wear exactly the same suit and outfit he wore in the two play-off semi-final victories over AFC Fylde. Whatever it takes.

Rogerson said: “I have worn the same clothes for the last two games, albeit with a bit of washing in between and will do so again.

“If the Chorley game goes to plan, we might do something on Saturday. If not, it will be back to the club for a drink. Hopefully, we will savour the moment.”

Of Guiseley’s four play-off defeats, last season’s one in the final at Altrincham, a year ago on Sunday, cut the most deep.

A goal with virtually the last kick of extra-time from Alty’s Greg Wilkinson broke Guiseley’s hearts in a 2-1 loss – and no team talk will be required tomorrow.

Even if victory and promotion will be the prelude to a major amount of work to get Nethermoor fit for purpose in the Conference – with plenty more to ensure it will pass rigorous ground grading to stay there next March – everyone at Guiseley would take that.

They are now just quietly praying it is their ‘time’. At last.

Rogerson added: “It was tough for everyone associated with the club with that 119th-minute bloody winner at Altrincham and we do remember that! Hopefully, it will stand us in good stead.

“If we’d been beaten by a better side, we could have taken something from it but we were that disappointed, especially with having Drenchy (Steve Drench) for probably a penalty shoot-out. But it wasn’t to be...

“I think a good proportion of the players who were there will drag the team on. I don’t think we’ll have to do a team talk.”

Most of the side who lined up 12 months ago will take the field at Chorley, with Rogerson full of praise for both their efforts and those of a young manager in Mark Bower, whom he took a bit of a punt on in appointing as Steve Kittrick’s successor at the age of 33 in the autumn of 2013.

Rogerson said: “Mark has done really well. I think it is easy to underestimate his passion because he says things in such a measured way.

“To the general public, he might not look like he gets excited about things.

“But you can’t underestimate his passion, which isn’t in doubt.”

On the season, Rogerson added: ”We probably have not had the budgets we have had in previous seasons and we have had a relatively smaller squad.

“We have also had some horrendous luck on the injury front, starting with our centre-half Danny Hall breaking his leg in a pre-season friendly.

“It’s been up and down and we haven’t had the runs we had last season. But saying that, we have ended up where we have needed to and I think we have probably played the right team in the 
play-offs.”

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