Battersby Signs Lions Contract

We are delighted to announce that Ollie Battersby has signed a contract with the club following a string of impressive performances since his arrival last month.

Goalkeeper Ollie Battersby hopes that signing a contract with Guiseley AFC will be the first step towards returning to the professional ranks, writes Rachel O’Connor.

The 22 year-old outlined the difficulties young goalkeepers face when trying to break into full-time professional football and the limited opportunities when you are not an outfield player.

Battersby has now signed a contract with Guiseley after initially joining on a short term deal, playing five games with The Lions in Brad Wade’s absence. His extended deal now gives the Lions great competition in the goalkeeping department.

Born in Grimsby the player joined his home town club Grimsby Town as a nine year-old and spent nine years in their Academy. He had a nine month spell in Sheffield United’s Under-16s before returning to Grimsby where he signed professional terms in 2018.

Illustrating the difficulties for young goalkeepers bidding to make their mark Battersby said: “In my time at Grimsby I was sent out on loan to Lincoln United, Mickleover Sports, Gateshead, Belper Town, Hereford and Ilkeston Town. It is difficult for ‘keepers as you are vying for one place in the team while outfielders can get an opportunity in a number of positions.

“An outfield player has always got a chance of playing whereas as a ‘keeper you are either in or out of the team. Once you have got past the Under-21 games your opportunities are very limited. You keep being sent out on loan and it is so very stop start.

He added: “Now is the time for me to find a place to settle down and be able to play 40 or more games and push on. I have got to 22 and never done a full season anywhere. I now want to get that under my belt and I think that for me Guiseley is the place to do it.”

He continued: “It is a good ground, a good set up and I feel the right place for me to kick start my career. My aim is still to be a full time pro and I have to prove that I am worthy of that by keeping lots of clean sheets and helping Guiseley to get into the play-offs. I need to succeed as an individual and by doing that I will help the team to succeed.”

The ‘keeper also used to play outfield as a youngster with half a game in goal and half as an outfield player but he is now set in his position as a goalkeeper but describes his role as “quite lonely, playing in goal is like a sport within a sport.”

The player signed his contract last week shortly before the departure of manager Paul Phillips. He commented: “That is football, I am learning that things change in this game at the click of your fingers. We now have to settle down and in the interim play for Tonguey until a new manager is appointed.

“In the short time that I have been here, even with Liam out injured, you can see that he is a proper leader in the dressing room. We just have to buckle down and get on with it.”

Away from football Battersby enjoys playing badminton and described it as ‘good for my fitness and movement as a goalkeeper’, now as a part-time player he is looking for a job outside of playing and is hoping to take up a coaching role with an academy.

Ollie’s home, away and training kits are all available to sponsor.

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