WHITBY Town player-manager Darren Williams will tell his players to “go out and enjoy it” when they visit second-placed Blue Square North side Guiseley in the final qualifying round of the FA Trophy, this Saturday.
The former Sunderland defender believes his Evo-Stik NPL Premier charges are under “no pressure”, despite £4,000 being at stake, and is hoping to have a full squad available for the short trip to West Yorkshire.
He told the Whitby Gazette: “Fingers crossed, we’re expecting to have everyone back, but it’ll be a tough game, we’ve seen Guiseley first-hand.”
Nathan Mulligan, the league’s 15-goal top scorer, returns from a one-match suspension to boost the Blues’ strike options.
He agrees with his manager’s assessment, but thinks Town can find another gear: “I don’t think we could’ve got a tougher draw”, he admitted.
“But it’s good to play against bigger teams. You just put yourself against them and you can actually get a good rating of where you are and hopefully, they might have one eye on their FA Cup replay.
“Whenever you play against a better team, you raise your game.
“We can do that, [and] we’ll have a good following behind us.”
Williams revealed that he’ll give his squad “a heads-up on individual players and how they play”, before adding: “I don’t think anyone outside of Whitby will be expecting any other result than a Guiseley win.
“We’ll be going in there with the idea of winning the game, but no pressure, all the pressure is on Guiseley to beat us.”
The Lions, who were promoted from the NPL in 2010, face Barrow in an FA Cup First Round replay on Tuesday, with another Blue Square Premier side, Macclesfield Town, awaiting the winners.
Should they win, it would be the furthest Guiseley have ever got in the competition.
However, even with a promotion campaign to consider, Williams doesn’t see Steve Kittrick picking a particularly-weak team for Saturday’s clash, even though he’s hoping his opposite number does see fit to rotate.
“Knowing Guiseley, they’re a full time outfit, they’ve got quite a big squad,” he said.
“They might rest a few and they might play a few fringe players.”
Williams (35) also reflected on the NPL Premier title race, after losing out to high-flying Hednesford Town last weekend, though he’s finding it just as hard to predict as the rest of us.
“It’s difficult to say, I don’t think there’s much difference between top and bottom in this league,” he claimed.
“You see it week in week out with results.
“Ferriby are doing really well at the top, but we took them to the 93rd minute, when they got a bit of a lucky equaliser really.”
Kick-off at Nethermoor is 3pm, with admission set at adults £10, children/concessions £6 and accompanied under-12s £4.
Guiseley AFC advise supporters in cars to use the large car park adjacent to the railway footbridge on Netherfield Road.
It’s free, and allows quick access to - and exit from - the game, with two turnstiles only yards from the bridge.
Parking here will reduce congestion in and around the ground. There are also two smaller car parks adjacent to the ground at the Otley Road end.
There is some on-road parking in Otley Road and Ings Lane, but not in Ings Crescent.
If the match is drawn, a replay will take place at the Turnbull Ground a week on Wednesday (21 Nov), with a 7.45pm kick-off.
Blue Square Premier sides enter the trophy in the next round.