National League North '“Bradford Park Avenue aiming to remain the team to catch

league leaders Bradford Park Avenue are aiming to hold on to top spot as they face relegation-threatened Ashton United.

Sam Collins, Marcus Bignot and Russ O'Neill, and Mark Bower

Jake Beesley’s ninth league goal of the season was enough for a point last time out against Curzon Ashton with Avenue moving above previous leaders Chorley, who were in FA Cup action.

Chorley have two games in hand, and manager Mark Bower is keen for Avenue to keep their focus despite an unexpectedly good start to the season.

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“It’s something that I don’t think anyone expected of us,” Bower said. “I don’t think many of the opposition that we face really think we’re that kind of team, so we’ve just got to go out and keep proving people wrong. So far we’ve done that.”

“It’s nice for people, isn’t it? We came here less than two years ago for a league game and I think we were dead last in the league and felt we needed to get a good run going to make sure we didn’t get relegated.

“It’s nice for the people that follow the club, everyone that puts time, effort, and money into making the club run that we’re sat top of the league, but it won’t make any difference to us as a group of players or management.”

Forward Oli Johnson was taken off after only 12 minutes against Curzon, and could be a doubt for Saturday’s game.

Meanwhile, Guiseley will be looking to take the momentum from a thrilling 4-3 FA Cup win into the league to arrest their recent slide down the table.

They triumphed over League Two side Cambridge United, with joint-manager Marcus Bignot saying: “That has got to be the best Emirates FA Cup game in the club’s history, in terms of excitement and us being on the right end of the scoreline.”

But with league fixtures going on elsewhere, Guiseley slipped to 15th, and they are without a win in their last four league games.

Bignot said that the cup giantkilling was just reward for a dominant showing, and he will be hoping his side can take that form into the league.

He said after the game: “It’s just like wow! We have played well the last two games and not scored but it seems we saved everything for today! 4-0 could easily have been five or six, it was that type of game.”

Guiseley host high-flying Spennymoor Town, ten places above them in the table and looking to consolidate their spot in the play-off places.

York City fought to a goalless draw with Chester in midweek, and now travel to face an Altrincham side that has won 13 points from the last 15 available.

That point was enough to take the Minstermen into the top half, and boss Sam Collins is now looking to close the seven-point gap on the play-offs.

He said: “Every game that we play we’ve got to set up to go and win, or else you can get caught out if you go in with a bit of a negative mindset.

“I want us to go and dominate the game.”

Altrincham’s Jordan Hulme is the division’s joint-top scorer with ten, but Collins isn’t looking to sit back and soak up pressure despite Altrincham’s superb recent form.

“We want to be the ones who take the game to them,” he said. “And let them be the ones who have to change because they can’t deal with us. That’s the way we’ll set up on Saturday.”