Lancaster boss confident strikers will stay

Mick Hoyle and Michael Stringfellow.
Mick Hoyle and Michael Stringfellow.

LANCASTER City caretaker boss Mick Hoyle is hopeful of keeping strikers Jordan Connerton and Dave Swarbrick at Giant Axe.

The pair have returned to training with the Dolly Blues and featured in the friendly defeat to Stockport County on Tuesday night but have been attracting interest from clubs in higher divisions.

Connerton left Crewe Alexandra at the end of the season after struggling to make an impact in the two years since he left City and Swarbrick, who spent the majority of last season at Giant Axe before becoming disillusioned with a lack of playing time, has been on trial with Barrow.

Hoyle said: “I’m delighted they’re both here.

“They’d make quite a front two and although they haven’t put pen to paper yet I’m confident they’ll both be doing that. We’ve got to fit them into our budget but it gets them some football and puts them back in the shop window.

“Jordan knows the situation well. He’s been looked after by the club before and if we can get him in budget he can use us and we can use him.

“He needs to get himself back out there and smash 10 or 15 goals by Christmas again.”

Hoyle, also Dolly Blues chairman, was relatively pleased with the showing against the Hatters, despite the 2-0 loss thanks to goals from former City men Danny Hattersley and Alex Meaney.

He said: “I was disappointed with the goal from the set piece as we’ve been working on that and someone lost Danny for the goal.

“As for the second, Tiny (goalkeeper Neil Beesley) had been outstanding in the first half and it’s just a lack of concentration.

“Hopefully he’s got that out of his system before the season starts.”

Hoyle is waiting to hear whether two other players who have impressed in pre-season, Niall Cowperthwaite and Zach Clark, want to join the club.

The Cumbrians starred against Dundee in City’s opening friendly but are also training with Conference North outfit Workington.

Hoyle said: “They are going to feature in the next seven to ten days and we want them to sign but we’ve got to get them into budget.”

City’s caretaker boss wants to cut the current 30 plus players he has training with the club down to a squad of around 20 for when the season starts in August.

All will get a chance to impress in the club’s next three friendlies at home to Celtic Nation on Friday night, away to Euxton Villa on Saturday and back at Giant Axe against Garstang on July 24, before the cut.

Hoyle wants the squad that will start the season in place for the final stretch of friendlies against the likes of Kendal, Barrow and Workington.

He said: “It’ll be the first eleven against Celtic Nation and those who don’t play will feature against Euxton.

“There’s the game against Garstang the following Tuesday and everyone will get their chance, then we want to nail down the squad.

“We’ve got to try to get everyone into budget and then we’re working with the squad we’re going to start the season with.”

One player who will feature against Euxton is midfielder Craig Carney, with the game earmarked for his return from a broken leg which he suffered last November in a game for Myerscough College.

The former Leigh man had impressed in the middle of the park for the Dolly Blues until the injury ended his season.