Dolly Blues close in on new arrivals

LANCASTER City could be set to make their first signings ahead of the new season.

Assistant manager Phil Brown told the Lancaster Guardian the club had set up meetings with players with a view to them joining the Dolly Blues.

Brown also confirmed the club were looking to replace top goalscorer Dave Swarbrick who joined AFC Fylde last week, a move which angered City boss Tony Hesketh.

Brown said: “We’ve got a couple of meetings set up with players.

“We are being pretty pro-active in our recruitment, not only trying to replace Dave Swarbrick but also improve different areas of the team.

“The players we’re meeting with have got a good pedigree.”

Brown is also hopeful that Swarbrick will be the only player to leave the club in the close season, but accepted it was only natural that players may look elsewhere given the club’s financial situation.

He said: “We’ve spoken to most of the lads and invited them all back.

“We aren’t aware of anyone apart from Swabba (Swarbrick) who hasn’t accepted our offer but some players might hedge their bets.”

Despite boss Hesketh’s frustration with the Swarbirck’s move, his assistant paid tribute to the former FC United man’s contribution in his short time at the club.

Brown said: “Dave leaving is just the realisty of the situation we’re in.

“He’s a great lad. He travelled from Barrow with Mike Rushton for peanuts. The money probably barely covered his petrol.

“He fitted in really well at the club and worked really hard for us. What you saw on the pitch was what he was like off it.

“I think he left with a heavy heart but we can’t match what Flyde were offering him. “

But Brown, like Hesketh, is optimistic ahead of the new season.

He said: “The play-offs are our target.

“Despite what happened off the field we had a decent season, finishing eighth and winning the President’s Cup.

“All the teams half way and below in the league would have happily swapped places with us.”

City’s reserve team manager, Richard Thomas, a coach at Myserscough College like Brown, has left the club to become the new manager of West Lancashire League side Garstang.

Brown said: “Garstang have pretty strong connections with Myerscough and Richard leaves with our blessing.

“We’re looking at re-jigging thigns a little with the reserves, making it linked more closely with the first team,. and maybe even with some of the first team staff involved.”