Non-League: Lions have the potential to exceed early-season expectations says boss Bignot

Guiseley's joint-manager, Marcus Bignot. PIC: Steve Riding
Guiseley's joint-manager, Marcus Bignot. PIC: Steve Riding
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MARCUS BIGNOT insists that Guiseley have the capacity to ‘over achieve’ in this campaign – and surpass the club’s stated seasonal aim of National League North consolidation.

The Lions, who currently reside in 13th place, make the trip over the Pennines to lowly Ashton United this evening on the back of a fine weekend performance in a 0-0 draw at Darlington, which should have yielded three points.

Louis Walsh. PIC: Courtesy Barnsley FC

Louis Walsh. PIC: Courtesy Barnsley FC

It was a dominant display in keeping with the Nethermoor outfit’s strong late-summer and autumnal form, which has seen them lose just twice in their past 13 league matches and also reach the first round of the FA Cup.

On the debit side, their league sequence has featured seven draws when a few more victories would have propelled mid-table Guiseley towards the fringes of the play-offs.

Victory at Hurst Cross tonight would see them draw level on points with tenth-placed Altrincham, who are currently three points behind the side who occupy the final play-off berth in Boston United.

Bignot said: “It is a must-win for us. That is how we are approaching it as we want the point at Darlington to be a good point.

“If we don’t after Saturday’s result and performance, we will just be a mid-table team.

“As the club set the remit, it will be consolidation and that kind of points return would suggest that.

“But we believe that we can over achieve with this group and the finances that we are working within. Every game is massively important.

“The players understand the importance of our points return and the mentality that you have to bring to get these points.”

The weekend sight of Guiseley re-producing an in-character performance at Darlington was augmented by a number of impressive personal displays.

Pride of place went to recent addition Louis Walsh, with the teenage Barnsley winger, brought in on loan until the start of December, enjoying an eye-catching debut – whetting the appetite for the weeks ahead. Bignot observed: “I think everyone can see the reasons why (he was signed).

“He caught the eye in pre-season when we played Barnsley and he more than caught the eye on Saturday and you saw what huge potential he has got.

“He has just turned 18 and the boy is a talent.

“He will add balance and competition to the group and that is what we want.

“We want wide players who can affect teams with pace and ability and he showcased that talent. We have a lot of these type of players and it is a welcome addition.

“We have been running really thin on the ground in terms of the squad and it is nice we have got exciting wide players in the building.”

There is also West Riding County Cup action this evening, with Farsley Celtic making the trip to Knaresborough for a second-round encounter.

Another round-two tussle sees Tadcaster Albion play host to Ossett United, while FC Halifax Town visit Goole AFC. In the NCEL Premier, leaders Yorkshire Amateur can go six points clear if they beat fourth-placed visitors Bridlington Town.

Garforth host Staveley and Thackley welcome Maltby.

Glasshoughton entertain Harworth Colliery in Division One.