Lancaster boss Mark Fell hits out at "ridiculous" fixture schedule

Lancaster City boss Mark Fell has questioned the fixture schedule which has meant his team have faced six games in 16 days at the start of the season.

The Dolly Blues currently have an injury crisis with a number of his squad struggling with knocks and strains.

Having not played since last November due to the Covid-19 crisis, Fell believes it was too much to ask players to open the new campaign with so many games in such a short space of time.

City have picked up four wins on the spin – including Saturday’s 3-0 success over Mickleover at Giant Axe – but they saw their winning run come to an end on bank holiday Monday when they conceded twice late on to lose 3-1 at Atherton Collieries.

Lancaster boss Mark Fell (photo: Tony North)

Fell felt his overstretched squad ran out of gas at the Skuna Stadium and the boss has questioned the congested nature to the start of the season.

“The injury list is ridiculous at the moment,” said Fell.

“I think we have got something like six or seven players all struggling.

“We had to play the last 10 minutes of Saturday with 10 men because Andy Teague came off with a hamstring strain.

“He’s going to be four to six weeks out, Simon Wills is the same.

“Niall Cowperthaite has picked up an injury and he could be a couple of weeks.

“Ryan Graham is probably going to be two weeks away; Tom Kilifin has had a groin problem and we might get him back for this weekend.

“Ben Hudson came off on Monday with concussion so we have got a lot of lads who are struggling.

“This was always going to be problem when you look at the schedule.

“We had 10 months of no football and now we have been hit with six games in 16 days. The schedule is ridiculous really.

“It hasn’t taken into account that the lads were going to have to do a full pre-season after 10 months of no football.

“It’s not just us. A lot of clubs have complained about the schedule, picking up injuries, etc.

“We actually played well on Monday in the first half. We ran out of gas in the second half.

“We have looked at our data and we have done 35% less work in the second half than we have done in the first.”

Despite that loss, Fell is pleased overall with the accumulation of 12 points from the opening six games.

“It’s two points a game,” said Fell. “If you do that through the season you’re going to be in the play-offs.”

Support us and become a subscriber today. Enjoy unlimited access to local news, the latest football stories and new puzzles every day. With a digital subscription, you can see fewer ads, enjoy faster load times, and get access to exclusive newsletters and content. Click here to subscribe.