National League North – Guiseley welcome return to league | Bradford Park Avenue seek to strengthen top spot | York City look to extend unbeaten run

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Guiseley midfielder Alex Purver is urging the wounded Lions to cast aside their FA Cup disappointment by ‘hitting the ground running’ during a busy festive programme of games.

The Cup party may be over for Guiseley following Monday evening’s second-round loss to Fleetwood Town in front of the TV cameras at Nethermoor, but a run of at least seven games over the next month will ensure that their attentions will quickly switch.

The Nethermoor outfit kick off a busy run with a National League North appointment at home to Hereford FC on Saturday – followed by a midweek FA Trophy replay with Lancaster City on home soil on Tuesday evening.

Following the hype and hullabaloo of the Cup, the return to the ‘bread-and-butter’ of the league may be viewed in some quarters as a bit of a reality check for the Lions.

But former Leeds United midfielder Purver, who scored an impressive goal in the 2-1 round two defeat to Joey Barton’s Fleetwood, is embracing a return to league business as he and his team-mates make up for lost time.

First up is the visit of 18th-placed Hereford, two places below the Lions and hovering just above the relegation zone.

While Guiseley are looking upwards, they are also mindful of the gap beneath them too, with the importance of not being dragged into a prospective relegation fight by the start of the new year likely to heighten extra focus.

The next month also sees Guiseley visit relegation-haunted Nuneaton Borough, but they also face a tough Christmas and New Year double-header with promotion-chasing Bradford Park Avenue – managed by former Nethermoor chief Mark Bower – and will also host a firm play-off candidate in Altrincham.

On returning to league duties, Purver said: “It has felt like a long time since we played in the league and I am dying to get back to the league.

“We are in a position where we do not feel it replicates to how we have played so far this season.

I am looking forward to getting into the league and getting back to hitting the ground running with a run of games now over Christmas and getting to where we want to be in the league.

Guiseley midfielder Alex Purver

“So I am looking forward to getting into the league and getting back to hitting the ground running with a run of games now over Christmas and getting to where we want to be in the league.”

Bradford (Park Avenue) will be looking to tighten their grip on top spot when they play host to a Southport side hovering precariously over the relegation zone.

Mark Bower’s side return to the Horsfall Stadium for the first time in three weeks, although the Avenue boss faces a selection headache after several changes were made in last week’s 2-0 victory at Telford United.

Mark Ross deputised in the heart of defence and shone in Shane Killock’s absence, while Jamie Spencer will be pushing for a recall after stepping off the bench and notching Bradford’s second.

York City visit Boston United looking to extend their unbeaten run of three games, with a win enough to move them above their hosts, who currently sit ninth in the table.

Midfielder Simon Heslop (knee) remains sidelined but there will be checks on winger Alex Bray (hamstring) and striker Jake Wright (ankle) who suffered minor injuries in midweek.