BY Liam O’Brien
Blyth Spartans welcome Guiseley to Croft Park on Bank Holiday Monday in their fourth home game of the season.
Lee Clark collected his first point(s) as Spartans manager in a 0-0 draw at Bradford (Park Avenue) on Saturday and hopes it will act as a building block in the club’s difficult start to the campaign.
But Marcus Bignot and Russ O’Neill’s Guiseley provide another tough test for Clark’s new-look team, having endured a bright opening six games.
Guiseley find themselves in the early playoff spots with 10 points – including an eye-catching 3-1 win over Spennymoor Town.
Last season, The Lions finished in an underwhelming 19th position after struggling in their first season since being relegation from the National League.
This time around, Guiseley will be hoping to match their efforts during last term’s FA Cup run, where they reached the second round, by claiming a top seven place come April 2020.
Bignot and O’Neill act as co-managers at Guiseley and have been there since last summer.
While O’Neill is well known for previously managing Alfreton Town for a decade, Bignot possesses a CV which includes EFL managerial experience.
In 2016, he was handed the Grimsby Town gig upon their return to League Two. Non-league wise, he has been in charge at Solihull Moors, Barrow and Chester.
Summer signing Aaron Martin will be the one to keep an eye on for Guiseley.
The striker has scored eight goals so far this season and will be hoping to add to his tally at Croft Park.
Guiseley are the joint highest-scoring team this season but can go a long way to preventing the visitors from adding to that if they stop Martin.
Last meeting at Croft Park
Blyth Spartans continued their push for the National League North playoffs with a 2-0 victory over Guiseley on a bumper Good Friday.
Kieran Green’s 13th-minute opener gave Spartans something to hold onto before Nathan Buddle’s towering header in added time a secured vital three points for Blyth.