Non-League: Lions have chance to open up a safety gap

THE end is almost in sight for Guiseley in their battle against relegation from the National League.

Guiseley's manager Adam Lockwood. PIC: Jonathan Gawthorpe

The Lions head to play-off chasing Gateshead tonight with a chance of opening up a 10-point gap down to the relegation zone, after a four-game unbeaten run propelled them up the table.

Adam Lockwood’s side will need to draw on every ounce of the resilience they showed at Boreham Wood on Saturday as they face a Gateshead team who have won seven of their last eight.

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“It’s another very tough ask for us,” Lockwood said.

Injury doubt, John Rooney. PIC: Steve Riding

“We’ve got a bunch of lads in there who relish challenges, as you can see from the moment we started this journey.

“We’ll assess where we are and make sure we prepare right for Gateshead.

“Hopefully, we can get ourselves ready and give ourselves the best chance of getting a result.”

Lockwood will check on the fitness of midfielder John Rooney and defender Elliot Green after the pair picked up knocks at Boreham Wood.

Back in contention, Guiseley captain Danny Lowe. PIC: Tony Johnson

They will be boosted, though, by the return from suspension of captain Danny Lowe and Jake Lawlor after they served their two-match bans following red cards against North Ferriby.

Teenager Will Wells made his first-team debut at the weekend and he could well come into the manager’s thinking for the trip to the North East.

Lockwood was furious at referee Dean Treleaven’s performance in the game at Meadow Park, suggesting that the injuries to Rooney and Green could have been prevented by the officials.

“John is a whole-hearted player,” he said. “He’s gone in for something with his full body.

Injury doubt, John Rooney. PIC: Steve Riding

“We’ll make sure John is treated right and that we do what is best for him and his body.

“With Elliot, it looked to me like something that could have been avoided.

“For me, that’s the job of the official – to stop things like that happening.

“It’s been a major issue for us more than once this season. It’s unacceptable.”

Back in contention, Guiseley captain Danny Lowe. PIC: Tony Johnson

The Lions showed resilience to withstand long spells of pressure on Saturday, particularly in the first half.

Their away record has improved, but they have lost 12 games on the road this season and are sure to be seriously tested tonight.

Lockwood was happy to take a goalless draw back to Nethermoor Park in light of Boreham Wood’s recent improvement.

“It’s a tough place to go,” he said.

“They beat Dover 5-0 before we went down there and you can see why.

“They have clearly turned a corner in terms of their performances.

“They tested us out and we came away with a clean sheet.”

Elsewhere there are a couple of crucial games in the National League dogfight that Guiseley fans will be keeping a close eye on, most notably York City’s clash with fellow strugglers Southport and Braintree Town who play host to Woking.

n Frickley Athletic have turned to former manager Karl Rose to guide them to safety in their battle against the drop in the Evo-Stik Premier Division.

After Lee Morris’s resignation, Rose – who spent four years at the club before quitting at the start of this season – has returned to Westfield Lane with Lee Stratford as his assistant.