Lancaster City manager Mark Fell has been encouraged by what he’s seeing from his squad in the build up to the new campaign.
The Dolly Blues don’t kick off their season until a week on Saturday and so there is time for further fine-tuning to be done by Fell and his staff.
But it’s a ‘so far, so good’ message from Fell as their pre-season programme enters its final stages.
Fell said: “We are working with a competitive group of 18 lads and at the moment they are giving me selection issues of the right kind.
“We scored three goals against Burnley Under-23s last week, beat Llandudno 4-0 and drew 3-3 with Barrow in recent matches.
“Until the Barrow game it had been a long time since we had scored more than twice in a game.
“Yes, these were friendly games and we have to go and do that in competitive action but it is certainly a step in the right direction.
“We have generally been playing with a 4-4-2, narrow in midfield which makes it into a diamond. It was a system we used last season but we needed to create more chances.
“The lads have worked hard in pre-season and they have responded well to what we’ve asked of them.
“We are seeing rewards with how they have played so far and now we have to work on a Plan B and a Plan C.
“I would still like to bring in another centre-half and we will looking about.
“The National League has started now so we can have a look at who isn’t playing and see who might be available.”
Lancaster’s latest game saw them beat Burnley Under-23s 3-0 at the Clarets’ Barnfield Training Centre.
Paul Dawson, Jack Armer and a triallist were on target, much to the delight of Fell.
“When you play an Under-23s side, something they have Under-18s and youth lads in it,” said Fell.
“Burnley Under-18s had a game that day so the team we played was a proper Under-23s, full of young pros and that was a great test for us.
“We handled the game well, had to stay in it early on when Burnley had a lot of the ball which you would expect.
“Then we went on to create some good chances and put three of them away in the second half.”
City have two more friendlies before the season starts against Stafford Rangers at Giant Axe on August 17.
On Saturday they head to North Wales to face Conwy Borough who play in the Welsh Championship.
That game was arranged to replace the planned friendly with Clitheroe – the Blues had to pull out as they are in FA Cup preliminary round action.
The final friendly is at Mossley on Tuesday night.
Fell said: “I’m pleased to have been able to organise the Conwy game.
“They’re in the same league as Llandudno who we played the other week and will be a good measure.
“It means a bit of travelling to North Wales but it was vital we had a game.
“After the Conwy game we play Mossley next Tuesday, train on the Thursday night and then we start the season.
“I’ve told the lads that we have a short time together and we need to make the most of it.
“The season is starting late for our league compared to a lot of others which I’m not a big fan of to be honest.”