Lancaster City caretaker manager Mick Hoyle says his side are “four or five” additions away from being promotion contenders.
Despite coming away with nothing from Easter weekend clashes with playoff contenders New Mills and Clitheroe Hoyle was impressed with his young charges.
He said: “For a game and a half over the weekend I believe we bettered two good, promotion chasing sides.”
“The first half against New Mills was awful, we were bullied out of the game but after the break, against a side I believe will finish second in this league, who have signed five or six players from leagues above we raised our game, refused to be bullied and matched them.”
The Easter Monday clash with Clitheroe saw Hoyle field a bench with an average age of 16 years and one month, all drawn from the club’s Under 18s.
He said: “We had a young squad but I feel as though we have put in our best performance since Christmas, we have dominated the game and I was annoyed that for a fantastic 20 minute period in the second half we haven’t scored.
“Then the way we have lost the game, they’ve had a wild shot which has pinged off Danny Gregson – who had a tremendous game – and gone in; that was hard to bear.
“After this weekend we have been really unfortunate to come away with nothing.” Along with the youthful bench Hoyle reshuffled his midfield with Ryan Winder moving out to the right and Gavin Clark picking up a rare start in the middle alongside Simon Wills.
Hoyle said: “We were forced into changes missing Ben Hudson at right back and Tom Kilifin up top but I thought that Clark and Wills were excellent, winning every second ball while Ryan Winder is a very good footballer, who has always played central midfield but did excellently out right, and got into goal scoring positions twice and perhaps should have scored.”
Hoyle and the board are set to draw up a shortlist of prospective new managers this weekend and look to interview on Tuesday, however the caretaker manager and chief executive has started to shape the squad for next season and thinks the new man will have a good base to build on.
He said, “We have cut away some players who would not have been with us next term and as a result the wages are down 40 per cent, I think that we are four or five good players away from really competing for promotion.”
City take on Cammell Laird at Giant Axe on Saturday and Hoyle thinks it is a winnable game and wants to see his side get some points they deserve.
He said: “We take on a side in a similar position to us on Saturday and I hope we can take these positives from the weekend’s defeats and get back to winning ways.”
Lancaster City’s end of season presentation evening will take place on May 4 after the club’s trip to Salford FC in their final game of the season, it will be held at Squires Snooker Hall from 7.30pm.