FC Halifax Town v Guiseley: Same opponents, yet another new manager facing Bower

Guiseley manager Mark Bower.
Guiseley manager Mark Bower.
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FC Halifax Town have undergone more changes than most this season, burning through two managers before December even rolled around.

The dismissal of Neil Aspin was followed by that of his replacement, former Oldham manager Darren Kelly, whose tenure led to a series of high-scoring defeats for the club.

His team conceded seven goals three times, and it was a lack of faith in his ability to implement defensive stability that ended his time at The Shay. He lasted only 47 days.

Guiseley have been frequent opponents this campaign, already lining up against Halifax three times against two managers. A third, caretaker boss Jim Harvey, will stand on the touchline beside Guiseley chief Mark Bower today.

Halifax have won twice in a row under Harvey. They beat Gateshead 4-1 away in his first game before triumphing 4-2 against Dover Athletic at The Shay. It was their first win at home since August 31.

Although Halifax remain 23rd in the National League, Bower admits this is probably a bad time for the Lions to face local rivals.

“I think you’d rather be playing them on the back of one of those seven-goal defeats when the confidence was really on the ground,” he said.

“I’d say that this is probably not a great time to play them.

“Jim Harvey is an experienced manager at this level, he’s done very well at this level before. He’s taken over, they’ve won two out of two games that he’s been in charge.

“It will be a completely different confidence in the side we come up against. Those two results will have given them some belief.”

However, Bower also believes Halifax will not be looking forward to facing Guiseley, who are hoping to secure a first league double of the season.

The Lions beat the Shaymen 2-1 earlier in the campaign.

He continued: “They could look at us on the back of the really good win against Bromley last week and say the same thing. You cannot control that, that’s the way the fixtures fall.

“Last week against Bromley was probably the best time to get them.

“They were on a poor run of form, had a couple of injuries; maybe we got lucky last week.

“We’ve got to go out and beat the team that are put in front of us. It should be a strong Halifax team, but they will be coming up against a confident and strong Guiseley team.”

Bower is looking forward to the game. He also called on his players to improve on their last display at The Shay, in the third qualifying round of the FA Cup.

On that occasion, Guiseley fell two goals behind before half-time and had to fight back to draw 2-2.

Bower said: “We’re looking to start well. It’s a good pitch at The Shay, which should suit the way we have been playing this season. There are all the ingredients for a beautiful game.”

Halifax defender James Bolton said: “A couple of wins have really upped our confidence and, hopefully, we can take that into the next couple of games and get a good win.”