Kittrick hopes prospect of facing Premier giants can inspire

Guiseley are tonight looking to create a slice of history earning a place in the second round of the FA Cup when they take on Conference Premier outfit Barrow. Richard Sutcliffe reports.

GUISELEY manager Steve Kittrick will send his side into FA Cup combat tonight with a clear message: You are potentially only two games away from facing Chelsea or Manchester United.

The Conference North club face a tricky first round replay trip to Barrow after being pegged back to draw 2-2 at Nethermoor a week last Saturday.

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With a home tie against Conference outfit Macclesfield Town awaiting the winners in the second round, whichever team prevails at Holker Street will fancy their chances of battling through to the stage where the giants of English football enter the Cup.

Guiseley manager Kittrick said: “I said to the players on Saturday after we beat Whitby (7-0), ‘We are potentially two games away from facing a Premier League team’.

“That is exactly how it is and the players have to understand that. Looking at their reaction, I think they do. The prospect of facing Manchester United or Chelsea is something that should excite everyone in football and my lads are no different.

“What a great incentive to do well up at Barrow, a place where we won a couple of seasons ago in the Trophy.”

Guiseley will have to overcome a side playing in the division above, albeit one in the relegation zone after losing to Lincoln City at home on Saturday.

Kittrick added: “I have been in touch with (Lincoln manager) David Holdsworth to see what their plan was on Saturday. Dave is a good lad and we used to help each other out when he was at Ilkeston.

“While speaking to the players (after the Whitby game), I mentioned that some of them may have to work on Tuesday morning before we travel up to Barrow. We also might not be home until 2am on Wednesday.

“But if we are through to the second round and potentially one game away from the third round then they won’t care about feeling tired.

“Realistically, the Cup is something that we are not going to win, whereas the other two competitions we are involved in are ones we can do well in.

“We got to the last eight of the FA Trophy last season and want to go further this time. And we are doing well in the league. But the Cup is something we can treat differently.

“The prize money can also be very useful to a club at our level, while the Cup brings some real prestige. So, if we can get through to the second round then we will have made history.”

Guiseley, who will face Brackley Town in the Trophy first round proper following yesterday’s draw, have won 11 out of 14 league games and sit third in Conference North.

Having been two goals ahead against Barrow late in the first half 10 days ago, the Lions felt understandably deflated come the final whistle.

Saturday’s hammering of Whitby in the FA Trophy, however, has left Kittrick’s side raring to go up in Cumbria.

He said: “It was frustrating to not win the first game. If it had been 4-1 at half-time then I don’t think they could have complained. And if we’d got that third goal, the tie would have been over.

“But we didn’t and, fair play to Barrow, they stuck at it and got a replay via two quick goals. But we will travel up there in confident mood after the win over Whitby.”

Last six games: Barrow DWDDLL, Guiseley LWWWDW.

Last time: Barrow 2 Guiseley 3; December 11, 2010; FA Trophy.

Referee: S Stockbridge (Derbyshire).