Like Wrexham, Guiseley have drawn their last two matches 0-0. New manager Paul Cox, appointed ten days ago, inherited a side which was conceding goals too regularly and pressed the reset button, successfully reorganising the side from the back. The result has been a committed, physical team which is very combative when it doesn’t have the ball.
However, you wouldn’t argue that they have been looking to park the bus. In fact, a trait which has continued from their pre-Cox matches is a desire to push up to constrict space in the middle of the pitch. This has meant that they are sometimes vulnerable to early balls over the top. While they get quite a high number of offside decisions, they also concede chances when players time their runs in behind well.
Playing a 4-4-2 allows them good pitch coverage when they are not in possession. When they push up, they look to restrict space in the middle of the pitch, and it’s notable that they are very hard in the tackle, particularly in central areas. They might concede free kicks in their own half which could be exploited.
When they fail to push up, there are a couple of areas where space can open up in the middle of the pitch. The spaces between the lines open up, and it has been possible to find room in the hole for midfield runners or strikers who drop off.
Also, they look to John Rooney to drift in from a position on the right of midfield to create. If there is a turnover of possession before he can regain his position, it’s possible to play the ball into areas he has left empty and expose Connor Brown at right back, although to be fair he seems to be able to cope fairly well due to his strength and pace.
Guiseley have height to send forwards for set pieces, but are also willing to innovate on occasions. Against Eastleigh they packed the six yard box for a corner to pin defenders in the area and then pulled the ball back to Lee Molyneux 25 yards out, who tried an unsuccessful volley on goal. Molyneux, a left winger who is capable of good delivery with either foot, is also a decent striker of a dead ball and both he and Rooney will be tempted to shoot from free kicks.
Guiseley are not shy of playing long balls early for their strikers. Both are physical, but the massively-built Kayode Odejayi is the main target man, able to win aerial battles with centre backs and move them around with his bulk. Raul Correia plays off him; he is also well-built, but has more pace and looks to run at defenders to commit them around the box.
All in all, Guiseley are an aggressive, direct team who like to play at a high pace and are certainly not scared to commit to their tackles. They have developed confidence at the back and at Barrow they played with an admirable amount of spirit. While the previous meetings between the sides have been packed with goals, Guiseley will hope to turn this match into something of a midfield battle.