Guiseley v Lancaster City – O’Neill hoping Lions can respond with FA Trophy boost

RALLYING CALL: Guiseley joint-manager Russ O'Neill. Picture: Martin Rickett/PA
RALLYING CALL: Guiseley joint-manager Russ O'Neill. Picture: Martin Rickett/PA
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GUISELEY joint-manager Russ O’Neill is backing his wounded Lions to show the right reaction to their FA Cup heartache by continuing another cup run in the FA Trophy tonight.

Guiseley starred on a national stage when hosting League One side Fleetwood Town in the FA Cup second round, which was broadcast live on BT Sport.

SO CLOSE: Guiseley's Paul Clayton misses chance atNethermoor in the FA Cup defeat to Fleetwood. Picture: Martin Rickett/PA

SO CLOSE: Guiseley's Paul Clayton misses chance atNethermoor in the FA Cup defeat to Fleetwood. Picture: Martin Rickett/PA

Early strikes from Paul Madden and Wes Burns ultimately saw Joey Barton’s team through with a 2-1 victory and Guiseley’s scheduled return to action in Conference North on Saturday was cancelled due to Nethermoor’s waterlogged pitch for the visit of Hereford FC.

It means the Lions will take in their first game since their FA Cup exit by contesting another knockout format tonight when they host EvoStik League Premier Division side Lancaster City in the FA Trophy.

O’Neill knows last Monday night’s defeat to Fleetwood will have left his men hurting, but he is hoping to get the right response in a competition which ultimately provides another route to Wembley.

“Obviously we take confidence from the FA Cup run we have just had,” said O’Neill ahead of tonight’s final qualifying round tie.

We will see how much it really has damaged us or whether it’s inspired us to go on and try and get these ties again through the FA Trophy.

Guiseley joint-boss, Russ O’Neill

“But whenever you have a good cup run the big problem is when the FA Cup dumps you out, because non-league teams like us do get dumped out at some point.

“It’s what happens next because it picks clubs up like ours and runs away with them.

“Then, when it’s finished, we are dumped in a field somewhere and then you have to find your way back.

“It was a really positive run we had but it’s just human nature.

“You get somewhere and you get really close to where you want to be which was the third round and a tie against a Premier League club. Then when it doesn’t happen it becomes a bit of a negative, but that comes down to the mindset of the group and we have made them aware.

“As we have been going on the run we have been saying you need to be ready for when it does happen so, hopefully, we will be in a good place and it will answer a lot of questions for us.

“It’s going to be down to mentality, making sure that the group is ready and that the FA Cup hasn’t damaged them too much. But I think they are a strong group and I think we will be all right.”

Tonight’s visitors Lancaster sit 16th in the division below Guiseley, although O’Neill was impressed with the Dolly Blues in their initial 2-2 draw at the Giant Axe.

“I thought they did really well,” said O’Neill. “Whether we took our foot off it I don’t know – you have got half an eye on the FA Cup – but it’s going to be a reaction time and we will see how much it really has damaged us or whether it’s inspired us to go on and try and get these ties again through the FA Trophy.

“In the first game they competed really well all over the pitch. They are a physical team and it will be a tough test.”

With dry weather forecast, O’Neill is optimistic the Nethermoor pitch will recover in time to get the game staged with a first-round tie at home to Blyth Spartans awaiting the winners.

“A Conference North team won the tournament last season in Brackley which is an inspiration for everybody and we are no different,” said O’Neill.

“We are going to try and go as far as we can and there are some financial benefits, too.

“But we are not looking any further ahead than this game with Lancaster.”