AMID all the concerns this week over the coronavirus outbreak which has put a stop to Vanarama National League North football until at least April 3, in-form Guiseley suffered another major blow.

Hotshot striker Aaron Martin, who arrived in the summer from Brighouse Town, netted 17 goals in 23 league appearances for the Lions, but he left for National League title chasers Harrogate Town on Monday.

Guiseley’s joint-manager Russ O’Neill admitted, while his side were keen to keep hold of Martin, they wanted to support his dreams of playing football at a professional level too.

He said: “Aaron’s done fantastically for us. We plucked him from lower league and he’s not the only one that’s excelled.

“We have a lot of players who’ve jumped up three or four leagues to play for us. There’s not a lot of (National League) experience in our side.

“Aaron was really good for us, particularly before Christmas, but I am pleased for him.

“He’s pushing 29 and he was desperate to fulfil his dream of playing full-time football.

“We offered him three or four improved contracts but his dream is his dream and we didn’t really want to stand in his way.

“We put people on the map at Guiseley and we wanted to help Aaron (further his career), just like the rest of the players.”

Martin didn’t play in Guiseley’s excellent 1-0 win at King’s Lynn Town on Saturday, but his teammates did.

Asked whether the game going ahead surprised him, given that the Football League and many local leagues had already suspended fixtures due to the coronavirus pandemic, O’Neill said: “I was surprised, yes, with everybody else being called off.

“But it’s difficult because there were no real set measurements from the Government, so it was left to the leagues, who are all acting in their own interests.

“We’re members of the National League and we’re proud to be part of it, so we’ll adhere by their standards.”

The National League did postpone their season with immediate effect on Monday and O’Neill said: “You’d think that was the right decision.

“We’d had back to back league wins and were looking forward to Kettering in midweek and Bradford at the weekend but it is what it is.

“There are more pressing things than football.”

But one pressing issue is what happens to Guiseley’s season, given that they are currently only four points off the play-offs.

Asked whether this season needs to be finished at all costs, even if that affects the start of next season, O’Neill said: “I was discussing this on Tuesday night.

“We don’t know which way football’s going to go and teams have spent a lot of money this season, but at what point do you say, let’s not make one bad season turn into two?

“You just hope there’s a massive improvement by April 3 and we can play again. That’s the ideal situation.

“But the experts think it’s going to be a lot more awkward than that going forward and that it will take a lot longer.

“We have to take it one day at a time and just leave it to the powers that be (to make a decision).”