Lancaster City will return to pre-season with high intensity - there is a cup final to win
Lancaster City boss Mark Fell admits there will be an extra edge to pre-season training for his players.
The Dolly Blues will return to work next month knowing that their first competitive game will not be too far away.
While the NPL Premier Division season starts on August 14, City know that they will have a cup final to play before then.
The club’s outstanding LFA Challenge Trophy final against Prestwich Heys, carried over from the curtailed 2019-20 season, is likely to take place in July.
With history to be made and silverware to win, Fell will be taking the match seriously and so there will be extra intensity to the squad’s early pre-season training and games.
“We have got the LFA Challenge Trophy and I have got to try to plan around that,” said Fell.
“That isn’t a pre-season friendly. We have got to make sure that we are up to speed quickly enough to make sure we are ready for that game.
“We want to make sure that we will be in a position to give the best account of ourselves for that game because it’s a game we want to win.”
While that game will be of the most importance for City, they have also organised a number of other friendlies as well as staging a four-team tournament, and will battle it out to win the inaugural Lockstep Trophy.
This week, the club announced that Football League outfits Carlisle United and Barrow have agreed to face them.
The two Cumbrian clubs will head to Giant Axe in July, with the clash against the Bluebirds taking place on Tuesday, July 13, while United will arrive on Wednesday, July 28.
Barrow are fresh from their first season in the Football League after being promoted in 2020 from the National League.
Although it was a tough campaign, they managed to keep their heads above water to survive, finishing fourth from bottom – five points above the drop zone.
Barring one season when they dropped out of League Two in 2004, Carlisle have been a Football League club since 1928. Last season they finished in 10th spot in League Two.
Having been starved of any football at Giant Axe since last year, Fell believes pre-season will be enjoyable for the club’s fans.
“It’s going to be a nice pre-season to look forward to,” said Fell. “We have got the cup final, the friendlies against two Football League opponents and the mini-tournament, which is a friendly competition, but there will be a competitive edge.”