City boss Fell eager to leave nothing to chance

Lancaster City boss Mark Fell. Picture: Tony North.
Lancaster City boss Mark Fell. Picture: Tony North.

Lancaster boss Mark Fell admits there is still some confusion at the bottom of the NPL Premier Division table as the season draws to a conclusion.

The winding up of bottom club North Ferriby United – whose record for this season has been expunged – over an unpaid bill of just under £8,000 means only two clubs will now be relegated.

But a statement on the Northern Premier League website earlier in the week indicated that the team finishing in 19th spot – or fourth from bottom – could still be relegated .

The statement said: “There are two other relegation spots across the four step three leagues which will be decided by the two worst Points Per Game (PPG) average of the teams across those four leagues, in the NPL’s case this impacts the team finishing in 19th place.

“A club at step four will be reprieved as a result of North Ferriby United’s withdrawal.”

The league statement was later updated with the above paragraphs deleted.

Currently Bamber Bridge occupy 19th spot in the table with City – having had the four points they collected against North Ferriby taken off their tally – in 14th spot seven points better off.

Fell admits that if North Ferriby United had of remained in the league, he would be happy to say that his team were now safe considering they are 10 points above the drop zone.

But with the uncertainty surrounding 19th spot, he insists there is still work to be done to make sure of City’s status in this division for another season.

“I think if North Ferriby hadn’t gone into liquidation – that would be us safe now,” said Fell.

“But the league put out a statement saying that there will be two other relegation places for the teams with the worst points per game across the four leagues.

“That could mean the team finishing in 19th spot could be relegated, but the league later took that statement down.

“So it’s not been made very clear really. There’s still some confusion and we don’t really know what’s happening.

“But we have just got make sure we leave nothing to chance.

“I think one more win will do it and we’ve got six more game to do it. We just want to make sure we get that win as quickly as we can.”

This weekend, City travel to face Scarborough Athletic, who still have an outside chance of finishing in the play-off places.

They are currently two places and seven points adrift of the top five but do have a game in hand.

Without a boss currently, Boro are being steered by caretaker Steve Roberts.

“They have got no manager at the moment “They have got no manager at the moment which I don’t think is helping them,” Fell said.

“Whether they will have somebody in place by the time they play us I am not sure. They are coming off the back of a defeat at Buxton so they are not in great form so it might be a good time to go to Scarborough.

“Having said that they have a very good team and their front three probably cost as much as our full squad.

“We need to find a way of shackling them but we have a very good chance.

“We have played better away from home and we want to try to continue with that. We will go there back ourselves to get the win.”

City came from 2-0 down to earn a draw against Hednesford Town on Saturday, equalising in the last minute through Paul Dawson.

He said: “I don’t think we could have had a worse of a performance as we had in the first half. But we had a little bit of a makeshift back four and at half-time, we sorted a few things out, changed formation and we were back to being ourselves.

“Really we could have won the game.”

Glen Steel returns to the squad this weekend.