Guiseley manager Steve Kittrick doesn’t quite know what to make of Blue Square Bet’s decision to pay out already on Chester FC winning the Conference North title.

“Sometimes I find it laughable, sometimes I find it bizarre and sometimes I find it annoying,” said the Lions boss, “and I don’t think I am the only one.”

However, Alan Alger, of Blue Square Bet, announced the decision after Guiseley’s recent loss to Vauxhall Motors.

He said: “The results in Blue Square Bet North made us reach for the pay-out button on our trading system and settle Chester FC as title winners.

“Guiseley have fought remarkably well to make a race of it but a 2-0 defeat at Vauxhall Motors leaves them with an almost impossible task.

“Of course, early payouts from bookmakers can some- times backfire and we lay down the challenge to any other team in the division to force us to pay out twice.”

Kittrick, whose side face third-placed Brackley at Nethermoor on Saturday, added: “It is too early to make a pay-out decision.

“Chester still have Gains borough to play, Harrogate Town away, Halifax Town away and ourselves away (April 13), so there is a lot of football still to be played.

“I also think that Chester wouldn’t have wanted this to happen either and that some managers might see it as disrespectful. I used it as part of my team talk against Vauxhall Motors - but we lost 2-0!”

Alger added: “We have put up a new promotion market, and Steve Kitt- rick’s men were installed as the 2-1 favourites to win the North play-offs, with Halifax close behind at 6-4. We then have Brackley Town at 11-4 and Gainsborough Trinity at 7-2.”

Guiseley (66 points) still have 14 matches to play, as do Brackley (59), while FC Halifax Town (47) have 19 matches remaining.

On Saturday, the Lions host third-placed Brackley, and Kittrick said: “We beat them in the FA Trophy earlier this season but they are a good team and it will be a tough game.

“But we should have Aaron Hardy back this weekend, while Kevin Holsgrove (knee) won’t be ready for another week.

“All games at this time of the season are difficult as teams are either battling to stay up, battling to get into mid-table, battling to get into the play-offs or fighting to win the title.”

After Brackley, the Lions face two relegation-threatened teams away - Corby next Wednesday and Droylsden a week on Saturday.