GUISELEY'S joint-manager Russ O'Neill admitted he is wary ahead of his side's visit to red-hot Altrincham on Saturday, but said that a week's break will have done the Lions good.

It was a largely excellent festive period for Guiseley, with a double win over Farsley Celtic and victory at York City, but it ended on a sour note, with Chester winning 1-0 at Nethermoor on Saturday.

O'Neill admitted his players' intensity wasn't quite there in that game, but said that was not surprising given their paper-thin squad, which is now even smaller after captain Scott Garner joined Boston United last week.

He said: "We're in a good place confidence wise, but I think it was just one game too far over a short space of time.

"We've used the same 12 or 13 players for all of those games and we've done a lot of travelling. Then you take into account that Farsley, York and Chester are all play-off teams.

"There was not quite the intensity there against Chester, but we conceded from one corner. They're strong in that area, but they didn't do much in open play.

"I think the week off before Saturday will do us good for our recovery."

Even a fully-rested Guiseley side will still find it tough at Altrincham though, with O'Neill saying: "We drew 1-1 with them earlier on in the season. They started slow but have picked it up since then.

"They've had five wins in a row now, so it will be a difficult away game. But we've only conceded two goals in five games ourselves, so we need to show that resilience against what is a good footballing team."

Altrincham currently sit ninth, while Guiseley are 11th, but there are only four points between Boston in fifth and Gateshead down in 12th.

Addressing that titanic battle for the play-offs, O'Neill said: "The table is massively congested. We could have gone fourth or fifth if we'd beaten Chester and instead defeat sent us down to 10th or 11th.

"So we're immediately looking at getting our next win, and replicating the games we played over Christmas.

"We're only halfway through the season, so I'd say it would be another 20 games before you could call it (the Altrincham game) a six-pointer.

"But then we did beat Farsley twice to claw them back in. Three points is always huge, but especially in games like Saturday's. It just gives it a bit of extra spice."

O'Neill admitted that hotshot striker Aaron Martin is nearing a return, although he thinks the Altrincham game may come too soon for him.

Full-back George Cantrill limped off in the Chester defeat, but O'Neill is hoping that was nothing more than a tight hamstring.

But fans definitely won't be seeing Garner at Altrincham, after his departure to Boston.

O'Neill admitted it was amicable though, saying: "Boston have shown a bit of interest in him in the last six to nine months and that's reared its head again, as they've had a good FA Cup run and they've got the finances.

"He was about out of contract with us and they've offered him another two and a half years on top of that, so it just gives more security for him and his young family.

"He's been a great captain for us, but we've done right by him."