Lancaster boss Brown: Transfer moves mean football has almost been secondary

New manager Phil Brown back at Giant Axe.  Picture: Tony North.
New manager Phil Brown back at Giant Axe. Picture: Tony North.

New Lancaster City boss Phil Brown admits football has almost been secondary after a busy time in the transfer market.

The Dolly Blues chief, who got his first win at the helm with a 3-2 victory over Ossett Town on Saturday, has overseen plenty of comings and goings with the departure of Garry Hunter the most high-profile amongst them.

The former Morecambe midfielder has joined Kendal Town after being allowed to leave the club as Brown looked to free up room in his budget.

Former Stockport County man Chris Churchman took Hunter’s shirt in the middle of the park for the win over Ossett and the 2-1 defeat to Clitheroe on Tuesday night but is understood to be the subject of interest from a club at a higher level.

Having already tied goalkeeper Mike Hale down to a contract Brown has also been battling to keep hold of striker Aaron Taylor who has been the subject of approaches from both Workington and Glossop North End.

Central midfielder Tommy Watson has however arrived from Kendal Town with Brown targeting another signing in that area over the coming days.

The returning Rob Henry is the other new face at Giant Axe with the full back set to take up a player-coach role.

He said: “I’m trying to recruit and get a little bit more depth on one side while also working to keep the registered players.

“There was a seven-day notice on Mike Hale when I arrived and now there’s Aaron Taylor.

“The football is almost secondary at the moment. Hopefully it’ll start to settle down.”

Brown says the decision to let Hunter move on after two years with the club was a difficult, but necessary, one.

The City boss said: “It was a really difficult decision.

“Garry is good player but like all managers I’ve got a budget to manage and it allowed us to talk to four or five players.

“I really had to think about it but we needed more depth so it was a decision I had to make.”

Brown feels the move has been justified and is encouraged with the players who have arrived.

He said: “Rob will come in as a player-coach but won’t be filling the assistant manager role.

“I value his input and he’s a good coach but he’s still got a lot to offer on the pitch so didn’t want to constrain him as an assistant.

“Tommy is a bit more of a combative midfielder. He was available and I’ve spoken to a few people who know him and got good reports.

“I’m not looking to decimate the squad that was here we just needed a few to improve what we had.”

Having already ensured goalkeeper Hale is staying put Brown is also confident top scorer Taylor’s future lies at Giant Axe.

He said: “I’ve spoken to Aaron and told him he’s part of my plans.

“We’ve had a good chat and I’m far as I’m concerned that’s that.

“He’s scored a few goals and looks like he’s enjoying his football. 
“He’s a Lancaster City player until he tells me differently.”

The Dolly Blues travel to Witton Albion on Saturday before returning to Wincham Park for the second time in a few days to face Northwich Victoria on Wednesday, unless Vics’ FA Cup tie with Chorley goes to a replay.

Matty Poole could return after the birth of his child with Jacob Davis also back from suspension.