View from the Dugout: Back to league action today – and we have a few decisions to make

John Johnston was offered a very attractive financial package to move to Chester this week
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Phil Parkinson was talking to Aiden Beswick.

We get back to National League North action for the first time in four weeks with a trip to Guiseley this afternoon and we will need to be very resilient against a side that have improved massively from last season and are currently in a play-off position.

They’re a big physical team that specialise in certain aspects of what they do, and we’ve watched a lot of footage and made the players fully aware of how they can hurt us, and how we can hurt them.

Manager Phil Parkinson at Halesowen

We’ve got to make a few decisions going into the game. I’m playing my cards quite close to my chest, but I feel I have to at this point because I don’t think the team selection is set in stone at the moment.

Lewis Archer has been training really well since joining us three weeks ago, but he’s been ineligible for the FA Cup, so today is his first opportunity to be involved and whilst he is a really fit lad, he hasn’t played for the best part of two months, so we’ve got to make a decision – is he that player who’s going to come on and make an impact, or do we leave him out and get him a game somewhere.

Lewis Walters has returned from his loan at Buxton, where he had a bit of a stop-start time. There were things that affected that, so again, he’s one we’re going to have to make a decision on.

John Johnston on the ball at Halesowen Pic: Michael Ripley

Connor Hampson will definitely miss out today, he’s going to have an x-ray on his foot. We need to find out exactly what is wrong with it now, because it’s been a reoccurring thing throughout the start of the season.

Jordan Hulme has looked good in training, we didn’t think he’d be back for today’s game, so that’s another decision that we have to make.

With players playing like they did in the FA Cup win at Halesowen, it gives you something to think about. Tom Peers gives us a different dimension to the other forwards we’ve got and we saw that when he came on for Jordan on Saturday.

Tom Hannigan on the ball at Halesowen

In terms of the game plan, it just depends on how we want to approach the game. Who’s in-form, who’s trained well this week. Obviously, there is one eye on the following game as well, with regards to people who might have knocks and niggles.

As well as we played on Saturday, I didn’t think we set the world on fire. I thought it was a solid, professional performance, but I felt the lads could’ve performed even better, but obviously we were delighted to get through to the final qualifying round, where we have been drawn away to Southport.

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