By Harry Hawthorne
AFC Guiseley face an in-form Halifax Town side on Saturday in what promises to be a huge local derby for both sides. The Lions find themselves rooted to the bottom of the table, 11 points clear of an unlikely survival. Halifax on the other hand, are unbeaten under new manager Jamie Fullarton since his arrival in late February.
The two sides clashed last August with Halifax reigning supreme at the Shay stadium. The 2-0 victory was initiated by a Matty Kosylo’s wonder goal and secured by a header from captain Matty Brown. The glint of BT Sport’s television cameras would have made the victory even sweeter against their local rivals.
Following the early season showdown, both sides have seen a change of management in recent months. Halifax were the first to act as Billy Heath was dismissed following 2 wins in 19 games. Heath had guided Halifax promotion to the National League the previous season but left the club in a precarious position of 19th in the league, only four points above the drop.
Since the appointment of Fullarton meanwhile, the club has won three and drawn one of their games under the former Notts County boss’s stewardship.
Guiseley decided to axe their second manager of the season Paul Cox after just five months in charge of the Lions. Cox took over following the dismissal of Adam Lockwood in September but only managed to record three wins during his tenure. Former Republic of Ireland defender, Sean St Ledger currently has the task of trying to steer Guiseley to safety.
The sides have met ten times since Halifax’s reformation in 2008. The spoils have largely been shared between the sides in both the National League and National League North.
While many players dismiss the passion and fire fostered in derby games such as this, Halifax defender Michael Duckworth understands the added jeopardy a contest such as this provides. He said:
“Derbies always mean that little bit more but we will try and treat this game like we treat every other. We want to go there and win, we want to keep this good run going that we’re on.”
“I think this is going to be great game and whoever wants it more on the day is going to be more successful.”
The game kicks-off at 15:00 on Saturday 17th March at Nethermoor Park in Guiseley with a large set of fans expected from each club.