Guiseley boss Mark Bower is upset that winger Wayne Brooksby has been ruled out of Saturday’s Skrill North promotion play-off final at Altrincham.
Brooksby sustained a double fracture of the jaw after being roughed up in last Saturday’s 1-0 semi-final second leg win at North Ferriby which sealed a 3-0 aggregate win.
Bower, who will also be unable to play his midfield general Danny Boshell because of the terms of his transfer from Altrincham earlier this season, was aggrieved with the treatment Brooksby received.
“He got no protection from the referee and was kicked, hacked and elbowed whenever he got the ball.
“It says a lot for him that he picked up the injury in the first half and played on for more than an hour. He didn’t complain he just got on with and also scored our winning goal.”
Bower added: “I am really gutted for him that he will miss out on the final because he has started every game for me this season.”
With assistant manager Boshell confined to the sidelines, Bower is going to have to reshape his side as they bid to avenge the worst defeat of his fledgling managerial career, a 4-1 defeat in the league clash at Moss Lane on October 5.
It was a game that saw former Guiseley striker James Walshaw net a hat-trick.
Bower admitted: “It was my worst day as a manager. We took the lead then fell apart in the second half.
“We cannot afford to do that again because Altrincham are a really good side.”
Altrincham, who are managed by Bower’s former Bradford City colleague Lee Sinnott, scored twice in the last five minutes to beat Hednesford 2-1 last Saturday to secure a 4-3 aggregate win.
Bower, who made his Bantams debut 18 years ago at Norwich in a side containing Sinnott, believes Altrincham’s confidence will have been buoyed by their late goals.
Bower said: “Obviously it will have given them a lift, but we will go there determined to play our game and impose our style of play on the game.
“Our confidence is high after losing just once in 18 games so we have nothing to fear.
“For the first time in the three years that I have been at the club we have gone into the play-offs on top of our form after our great run of results.
This is the fourth successive season that Guiseley have made the play-offs since winning promotion to Skrill North.
They lost in the final to Telford in 2011 and have gone out in the semi-finals in the past two seasons to Nuneaton and Halifax Town.
Bower would love to win promotion to the Conference Premier at the first attempt – something that seemed light years away when he lost his first five games in charge.
“This group of players have done a fantastic job and I would love them to finish it off on Saturday,” he said.
Bower will be giving careful consideration to the make up of his side over the next 48 hours.
Goalkeeper Steve Drench has returned to training after his illness but Steve Dickinson has staked his claim with two cleansheets in the semi-finals.
Replacing Boshell and Brooksby will exercise much of his thinking time.
Danny Forrest and Kevin Holsgrove, two possible replacements for Brooksby are short of recent game time, but are more than capable deputies.
In midfield, Michael Potts has impressed in recent substitute appearances and could get his big chance, as Bower also considers which formation to employ to win the game.