PAUL COX is banking on new striker Dayle Southwell providing Guiseley with a ruthless attacking edge in their National League survival quest.
The former Boston United marksman has joined the Lions on an 18-month deal from League Two outfit Wycombe Wanderers and is set to make his debut in tomorrow’s crucial Roses trip to AFC Fylde.
He is assigned with firing the goals to spark another Great Escape mission for Guiseley, who badly need to find their shooting boots if they are to have a realistic chance of staying up for the third year on the trot.
Grimsby-born Southwell, 24, a former England C international, certainly has the pedigree after scoring 54 goals in two seasons in the National League North with Boston, with his exploits earning him a move to the Chairboys in June 2016.
After a difficult spell in Buckinghamshire, he is now seeking redemption at Nethermoor.
Lions manager Cox told the YEP: “I tried to sign him when he was at Boston and he went into the Football League at Wycombe.
“He is a player who can score all kinds of goals and is a natural goalscorer.
“I think we have signed an excellent addition when you look at the fine lines of our recent results.
“You look at the Aldershot game when the game should have been out of sight after we had a lot of chances at 1-0 and the Chester game when we drew at home when we should have won.
“Even at Eastleigh, where at 1-1, we had two one-on-ones and one effort cleared off the line, we just needed to be a little bit more ruthless. It is fine lines of three points or no points at the minute and we have got to do something about it, simple as.”
Cox admits that his squad makeover is by no means finished, with the Lions chief seeking to do further business to continue re-freshening his ranks.
Cox is also hoping to secure loan extensions for the young duo of Nottingham Forest youngster Adam Crookes, 20, and Oxford United striker James Roberts, who joined for an initial month before Christmas, with ‘positive talks’ held with their respective clubs.
He said: “We are looking to extend both. They have done very, very well for us and both have been quality additions to the squad and ones we want to keep.
“We have had positive talks and hopefully they will be with us after Saturday.”
On his pursuit of more signings, possibly before the weekend, Cox added: “We are working extremely hard.
“We talk about squad numbers, but you look at the size of the squad and with the loans that are out there and the injuries, it is not as big as you would imagine.
“Last week, we played a centre midfielder at centre-half in the middle of the back three due to a lack of bodies.
“It does look as though we have a big squad, but the reality is that we haven’t. We have had seven or eight sat on the treatment table and the frustration is that some of them have only featured a couple of times.
“But we cannot moan about it and must get on with it.”
Some positive injury news has seen defender Chris M’Boungou return to training after a spell out.
Second-from-bottom Guiseley – with just one league win in nine league matches – are nine points adrift of fifth-from-bottom Barrow, although they do have two matches in hand.
FC Halifax Town, who have allowed Adam Morgan to join Irish side Sligo Rovers, play host to Maidenhead in the FA Trophy tomorrow, seven days after visiting them in the league.
The first of what manager Adam Lakeland describes as two “huge games” sees his Farsley Celtic side travel to high-flying Grantham Town tomorrow to once again revamp their own bid for promotion from the Evo-Stik Premier, writes CONNOR CRAIG-JACKSON.
The Celts suffered a narrow 1-0 loss to league leaders Altrincham in their last league outing and face a Grantham side boasting only one league defeat since early October.
Meanwhile, Ossett Town’s desperate hunt for points in Evo-Stik North continues with a difficult trip to high-flying Bamber Bridge, while Ossett Albion face a Droylsden side struggling for form and looking for a first win this year.
After suffering a recent blip, Tadcaster Albion will have renewed confidence ahead of tomorrow’s outing with Skelmersdale after a very pleasing 5-0 win over Brighouse Town in their latest league fixture.
Town themselves have recuperated since that result, edging out Kendal Town 2-1 last weekend, but will be very much up against it tomorrow when they take on a Hyde United side unbeaten in all competitions since November.
Also looking untouchable recently are Frickley Athletic, as they bid to carry on their march towards the Evo-Stik South’s automatic promotion spots when they visit promotion rivals Stamford tomorrow.
Elsewhere, a huge and mouthwatering Yorkshire derby in National League North sees Bradford Park Avenue take on in-form York City at Bootham Crescent, with only one point separating the sides.
A recent blip has seen Avenue now clinging on to the final play-off spot, with the Minstermen sitting just outside with a game in hand.
Victory could therefore be vital for either side, with both expected to fight tooth and nail in an encounter with a huge amount at stake.
Fellow National League North side Harrogate Town meanwhile, take a short break from their promotion pursuit this weekend, as they face a tough FA Trophy second-round tie at National League South side St Albans City.
Promotion is now the main focus for Pontefract Collieries, with their exit from the FA Vase leaving them 15 points off the top of the NCE Premier with seven games in hand, writes CONNOR CRAIGH-JACKSON.
Craig Rouse’s side face a tough reintroduction to league action as they travel to promotion rivals Pickering Town, who themselves are loooking to return to winning ways.
Hemsworth Miners Welfare, meanwhile, travel to Barton Town looking to kick on from their recent victory over basement-club Clipstone, who also welcome an in-form Garforth Town side aiming for three wins on the bounce.
Harrogate Railway’s bid for survival could also take a huge turn when they welcome free-falling Thackley tomorrow, while Liversedge play host to Rainworth Miners Welfare.
After a short stall in performances, the hunt for automatic promotion in Division One is now firmly underway for Yorkshire Amateur.
They travel to struggling Nostell Miners Welfare, who remain in real danger of falling into the drop zone ahead of tomorrow’s tough outing with Amatuer.
Selby Town’s outing with eighth-placed Hallam, meanwhile, sees them with a great chance to put further distance between them and the play-off-chasing pack, however, Glasshoughton Welfare will be hoping for a Selby slip-up as they head to Armthorpe Welfare looking to keep their faint play-off hopes alive.
Despite looking for five league wins on the bounce, league leaders Knaresborough Town face a potentially tricky outing at Worsbrough Bridge who, despite sitting near the relegation zone, are fresh from a convincing 3-0 victory over FC Bolsover.
Elsewhere, AFC Emley take a short break from the league tomorrow when they face local rivals Penistone Church in the Sheffield and Hallamshire Senior Cup quarter-finals.