GUISELEY skipper and experienced defender Hamza Bencherif has given the club a boost by signing a new contract for the 2021-22 campaign.

The former York City man will be looking to add to the 53 appearances he has achieved for the Lions over the last two Covid-affected seasons.

The 33-year-old is most looking forward to getting fans back in the ground and seeing the progress of some of the club's home grown talent.

Paris-born Bencherif was impressed by the quality of young players from the academy who made it into the first team last season, players such as Nathan Newall, Lewis Hey and Adam Haw.

The centre half, himself a former Algerian under-23s player, said: "We saw some good things from our youngsters last season, not just the ones from our own academy but also other young players the management brought into the club.

"All the youngsters came in and played a part. We will be looking for them to push on when we start playing again."

One thing the captain feels hurt the team last term was not having the Nethermoor crowd behind them.

"Playing in grounds without fans in was a bit soul destroying," he added.

"Last season, the new lads never got the chance to experience what it is really like to play for Guiseley with all the crowd behind you.

"The fans give the team the tempo and really help you fight back when you get behind. They get you through the bad times.

"Guiseley is a family club and the supporters get right behind the team and we want to achieve something for them and write some kind of history for them."

Of the 2020-21 season, he said: "Starting the season just never felt right and without supporters it was strange.

"It became a very tricky situation and, with a lot of our players also having work outside football, employers were starting to become concerned about our involvement in football.

"This time it would be good to get a good pre-season in, we have unfinished business, and we want to give it a right go when the league starts again.

"We had a number of new players who did not really get time to gel with the squad due to the curtailed season, so we look forward to seeing what they have to offer."

Once Guiseley are back in action on August 14, Bencherif will be looking to add to his five goals for the club.