Easter test for Dolly Blues

Lancaster City manager Mark Fell hopes the Dolly Blues can get back to playing a decent brand of football over the Easter weekend after last week’s long- ball contest at Mickleover Sports.

Thursday, 18th April 2019, 10:55 am
Updated Thursday, 18th April 2019, 11:19 am
Ben Hudson is back from injury. Picture: Tony North.

The 1-1 draw with strugglers Mickleover made Lancaster mathematically safe but was a tough watch according to Fell.

So with the shackles off, he hopes Saturday’s clash with Nantwich at Giant Axe and Monday’s trip to Workington can be better spectacles.

Fell said: “We got the point we needed for safety last week.

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“We went to Mickleover and it was a bit of a strange dynamic knowing we only needed a point. We wanted 
to win the game but knew a point was enough and to be honest we weren’t at our best.

“If I’d had paid to watch that game, I would have asked for my money back.

“Mickleover played long-ball football, we generally don’t do that but got dragged into it.

“At the end of the game it was more of a relief that we had got the draw we needed.

“It’s been a bit of a slog to get to where we are, the lads have worked their socks off.

“The message now to the lads is to try and win our last three games and finish as high up the table as we can.

“We could finish as high as 10th place which bearing in mind where we were in the table back in October, would be a remarkable achievement.

“That is the aim, it won’t be a case of downing tools on the back of being safe.

“If we can finish strongly, it can be something to build on going into next season.”

Fell could well get a double boost on the injury front over Easter, with Sam Bailey and Ben Hudson due back from long-term injuries.

Both have been out with knee injuries but are closing in on full fitness.

Said Fell: “Ben has been out since Christmas and Sam for a lot of the season.

“They both came through a reserve game and will feature at some stage over the Easter weekend.

“We won’t expect too much too soon from them but it’s great to have them back.

“It’s more of a boost for next season that they’ve got back.

“They’ve come through a full rehab programme and our physio Paul Winstanley has worked so hard with them.”

City face opponents from different ends of the division in their Easter game.

Nantwich head to Giant Axe looking secure a place in the play-off places.

Monday’s trip north will see them face a Workington side already relegated.

Fell said: “Nantwich are a good side and I don’t think they can drop out of the play-off places – they’ve got a nice cushion.

“Mind you, they lost against Mickleover which shows you that anything can happen in this division.

“If you are just a bit off the pace in a game and falling a bit short, you can get beat.

“Workington on Monday is one of those few games when we travel north.

“It’s a bit of a derby game and we will be looking for a bit of revenge for when they beat us at our place on Boxing Day.

“At the time, we were in the relegation zone and it shows how things can change.

“Workington have been relegated and we are safe in mid table.

“In many ways the pressure is off both sides and we can go up there and give it a good go.

“It’s a derby game in some ways and there are bragging rights at stake for us and Workington.”

Fell will run the rule over the fitness of striker Brad Carsley ahead of the weekend.

“Brad came off in the Mickleover game with a dead-leg,” said the Dolly Blues boss. “Other than that, I think we are all right.

“With us getting to the end of the season, we might have to be a bit careful with one or two of the senior lads.

“It’s been a tough season and we don’t want things catching up with them by them getting an injury.

“We will manage the lads over the last three games, be sensible about things.”

Fell, meanwhile, hopes it is Bamber Bridge who stay up at the expense of last week’s opponents Mickleover.

“If Mickleover stay up and Bamber Bridge go down, it would be a travesty in my eyes,” said Fell.

“Bamber Bridge are a significantly better side than Mickleove,r judging by what I have seen of both sides this season.

“But Bamber Bridge are still right down there.”