FA Trophy tie against Chester is one to relish for Lancaster City

Lancaster City will relish the prospect of causing a big upset in the FA Trophy on Saturday.
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That is the view of boss Mark Fell who takes his team to National League North outfit Chester in the second round of the competition.

The Seals – a former Football League outfit – are riding high in the division above. They currently occupy a position in the play-offs and are unbeaten in their past seven league games.

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The Dolly Blues on the other hand have endured a difficult start and are only two points above the relegation zone in the NPL Premier Division.

Brad Carroll, right, in action against Whitby Town. (photo: Phil Dawson)Brad Carroll, right, in action against Whitby Town. (photo: Phil Dawson)
Brad Carroll, right, in action against Whitby Town. (photo: Phil Dawson)

However, in recent weeks there have been signs of a recovery with three wins out of four and the squad is beginning to have a more settled look to it after a host of injuries initially hampered their progress .

After terrific 3-2 and 2-1 wins over Marske United and Whitby Town over the past week, City will head to Chester in high spirits for what Fell has labelled as the tie of the round.

"We can go there with a bit of freedom,” said Fell, whose men are likely to be cheered on by a couple of hundred away supporters in a likely four-figure crowd.

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“We are going to a great stadium against a big club who will be expected to win.

"But we can go there with a quiet confidence about what we think we are capable of.

"It’s the first time in my time as manager that we have sold out a supporters’ coach and I know there are a number of fans who will be making their own way there. So their support will be important to us."

Fell is expected to have a strong squad to choose from with only Charlie Bailey, Jake Connolly and skipper Andy Teague unlikely to figure at the Deva Stadium.

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"Let’s go and enjoy the occasion,” he said. “Our lads will relish the occasion – a lot of them are used to playing on these sort of stages.

"It certainly won’t overawe them. We have come up against these type of teams in the past.

"We have done our due diligence as we always do on the opposition and we certainly know what Chester are all about. It’s a free hit but we don’t go into games expecting to get beaten.”

Lancaster required a last-minute header from Dale Whitham to beat Whitby last weekend, although Fell insisted his team’ second half performance was worthy of all three points.

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Up against a team directly above them in the table going into the match, there was much at stake.

And things didn’t look rosy when the hosts took an early lead.

However, Sam Bailey restored parity from the penalty spot and City had great chances to score through Nico Evangelinos and David Norris before Whitham’s late intervention.

"Dale’s played every game so far,” said Fell. “He would have got a rest on Tuesday in the LFA Challenge Trophy against Bamber Bridge but that game got postponed.

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"He’s been good. He has taken a little while to settle but he is starting to show his class and his quality.

"He’s got that capacity to pop up with some really important goals.

"To be fair, Nozza (David Norris) has missed a header from three yards out and before that Nico has missed a one versus one.

"Our second half performance was excellent. They hardly got out of their own half.

"We really came on strong and we’ve had two long journeys over the past week so to come away with two victories makes it that much better.”