Lancaster City have golden chance to go top of Northern Premier League

Lancaster City manager Mark Fell. Picture: Tony NorthLancaster City manager Mark Fell. Picture: Tony North
Lancaster City manager Mark Fell. Picture: Tony North
Third-placed Lancaster City have a golden opportunity to go top of the NPL Premier Division this weekend.

The Dolly Blues welcome mid-table Hyde United to the Giant Axe on Saturday knowing that three points will send them to the summit no matter what.

Current leaders South Shields and second-placed Basford United are on FA Trophy duty – and City boss Mark Fell is keen that his men do not let this opportunity pass.

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The prospect of City hitting the front has been brought about by a sparkling run of form which has seen them win their last five league games – culminating in last Saturday’s fantastic 1-0 victory at South Shields.

That result put them just two points off the top – an incredible statistic considering the Dolly Blues were lagging 10 points behind the Mariners not that long ago.

It was a goal from David Norris in the second half which handed the visitors victory in front of a crowd of around 1,600 supporters and Fell has hailed his men.

“It was unbelievable,” said Fell. “Nothing surprises me any more with this group of players.

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“We went up there with a bit of belief knowing that Hyde had been up there and won, Colne had knocked them out of the FA Cup and Grantham had got a point there.

“They are a very good side. They’re full-time and you can see how they work and what they work on.

“They have players who should be playing higher than this level.

“But they don’t work as hard as what we do. It’s the old cliche – hard work beats talent.

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“That’s what we did. We outworked them. It was only a 15 minute spell in the first half when they started to get on top. There wasn’t much in it.

“It was a bit of a statement to the rest of the division and gives those players confidence that they deserve to be where they are.

“I think the lads enjoyed it – playing in front of a crowd of around 1,600.

“They will take a lot from that playing in front of that crowd – there were 100 Lancaster fans and they outsung the home fans.

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“It all came together and puts us in a position where if we win on Saturday, we are going to be top of the division.

“I said it last week that it was conceivable that we could go top of the league by this weekend.

“Did I really believe that would happen – probably not. I would have been happy with a point at South Shields.”

While confidence is high, Fell has warned his squad about the dangers of complacency.

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He does not think there will be any element of ‘After the Lord Mayor’s Show’, especially as a much-changed City line-up swept aside Charnock Richard 5-1 in the LFA Challenge Trophy on Tuesday night.

“Hyde are a young side and have had a mixed start to the season,” fell said.

“They have a 3G pitch and are decent at home but probably don’t travel as well.

“If I am being honest, if they can get around the play-offs they will be happy – a bit like us. But we can’t get complacent.”

Brad Carsley, who scored two in the Trophy in midweek, is pressing for a start while so is club captain Simon Wills.

On Tuesday, City travel to Stourbridge in the FA Trophy.