Barrow v Guiseley - No room for sentiment as Paul Cox makes early return

PAUL COX is focusing on business and not sentiment in his first away outing as Guiseley manager at former club Barrow this evening.

Guiseley's Jake Lawlor

The delicious quirks of the fixture calendar see recently-appointed Lions chief Cox make his first return to Holker Street this evening – just 19 days after resigning from his position at the Cumbrian outfit after almost two years in charge.

Cox insists that he can go back to Barrow with his head held high, with his vital statistics with the Bluebirds bearing testament to that.

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Last year, he led them to their highest-ever non-league finish – when they ended the season in seventh place in the National League – as well as the third round of the FA Cup and the quarter-finals of the FA Trophy.

Now he is plotting their downfall this evening as he seeks to claim his first victory as Guiseley manager after taking over at Nethermoor at the start of last week.

On a quick-fire return to Barrow, Cox, whose side drew 0-0 with Eastleigh in his first outing in charge of Guiseley on Saturday, said: “It is amazing. It is only probably in this business where people think like that.

“I had a fantastic rapport with the supporters there and I am proud of what we achieved at the football club in such a short space of time and how people perceive and look at the club.

“It will be nice and I always enjoy going back to my previous clubs and can look back with a sense of pride, whereas some people go back to previous clubs and have a bitter and twisted outlook on it.

“I have never gone back to a previous club and looked at it with displeasure. But whether we win, lose or draw against Barrow will be insignificant in terms of how I plan for it. I have got to keep my eye solely on our goal this season and our goals in the next two and three years now.

“It will be another football match and one I am looking forward and will feel a sense of pride too. I will think back with pride and positivity rather than anything negative.”

Commenting on his side’s first outing under his watch against Eastleigh, the former Mansfield and Eastwood manager added: “I thought we finished the game stronger, I thought we had the better chances and I thought we had won it when that ball dropped in there for Jake (Lawlor).

“I also thought our keeper had only one save to make, so there are loads and loads of positives to take from the game.

“To be fair to the players, the way they have shown their desire and have applied themselves in training this week has been amazing.

“And the way they performed and their work ethic in this game is what I wanted, and our shape looked good. We can improve on that, and when we relax a little bit in possession we will start to put three points on the board instead of one.”

Elsewhere, FC Halifax, in sixth spot, visit Leyton Orient.

In National League North, joint leaders Harrogate visit Southport and fifth-placed York welcome Gainsborough.

Fifth-placed Farsley Celtic host second-placed Grantham in the Evo-Stik Premier and Ossett Albion host Scarborough in the First Division North.

Ossett Town visit Goole and Tadcaster go to Mossley. Frickley visit Sheffield FC in First Division South.