City must stop rot to save play-off bid

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Lancaster City must react quickly after slipping out of the NPL Premier Division’s play-off positions in midweek, says boss Mark Fell.

The Dolly Blues have been a fixture in the top five for the majority of this season – even topping the table for a number of weeks before Christmas.

However, their promotion push has taken a hit in recent weeks after suffering their worst sequence of results of the campaign.

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Saturday’s 1-0 loss at home to Gainsborough Trinity was their third successive defeat, following on from losses against Whitby Town and Hyde United.

Lancaster City boss Mark Fell. Picture: Tony NorthLancaster City boss Mark Fell. Picture: Tony North
Lancaster City boss Mark Fell. Picture: Tony North | freelance

That run coupled with Warrington Town’s 3-2 victory over Matlock Town on Tuesday saw City slip to sixth in the table.

Backing up behind them are Whitby and Morpeth Town, who all have games in hand on Fell’s men.

Indeed out of the top eight clubs, Lancaster have played more games than everybody else.

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While admitting his team are up against it, Fell is determined that what has been a fine season so far does not turn into a damp squib.

He is still of the firm belief that a good run of results over their final nine games will be enough to secure a play-off spot come the end of the season.

And he is eager to see his men return to winning ways in the league when they host mid-table Witton Albion.

“We have lost three on the bounce and that’s the first time we have done that since I have been here as manager,” Fell said.

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“It was a massive disappointment to lose Saturday but we need to get over that quickly. I will take a scrappy 1-0 win with a goal in the 95th minute.

“I will take anything at the minute because it’s not happening for us at the moment.

“Confidence is a big thing plus our squad has been disrupted by unavailabilities.

“I am not making excuses but we were missing David Norris, Matty Blinkhorn and Jack Armer, who had to pull out very late due to illness, on Saturday.

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“We have not been able to put out a settled side, plus there has probably been a loss of form from a couple of players.

“I think six or seven wins will get us in the play-offs. There are around 20 games which sees the teams around the play-offs play each other and out of those games we are involved in two of them.

“We have just Whitby Town and Basford United to play. Many points will have to be dropped and we just need to get back to winning ways.”

Lancaster will head into this weekend’s game buoyed by the fact that they have already registered victories over Witton Albion this season.

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In the first league fixture, City were 3-1 winners at Wincham Park in October and then a few weeks later they defeated them 1-0 in the FA Trophy at Giant Axe.

“They probably still have aspirations of being in the play-offs but that’s going to be a bit of a stretch for them,” said Fell. “We need to stop this little bad run of form.”

Norris remains suspended.