No pressure on Lancaster City ahead of FA Cup clash with Spennymoor Town
Boss Mark Fell insists all the pressure is off his Lancaster City team when they host Spennymoor Town in the FA Cup second qualifying round.
The Dolly Blues welcome the National League North outfit to Giant Axe this weekend and if they were to emerge victorious, it would be viewed as an upset.
However, while The Moors operate in the division higher, there is arguably not too much difference between the two sides.
City are going well in the NPL Premier Division this season. They currently sit in ninth spot and within striking distance of the play-off positions.
The Moors, though, have not had the best of starts and find themselves in a lowly 18th spot in their respective division.
Despite that, Fell believes his men – who needed a replay to get past Northwich Victoria in the previous round – will start the match as underdogs and that could help his side play with freedom.
He will also remind his players ahead of kick-off about their run in the FA Trophy last season early on in his tenure when they came up against National League North opposition.
City got the better of Guiseley after a replay before valiantly bowing out to Blyth Spartans in the first round proper.
“It’s a great draw for us,” said Fell. “We had some good games against National League North opposition last season in the FA Trophy.
“We competed well against Guiseley over two games and won and I thought we played very well against Blyth.
“We’re in a better position now than we were back then. We have nothing to lose, it’s a home draw and the expectation will be on them to come to us and beat us.”
Meanwhile, Fell was a frustrated figure on Saturday as City let the lead slip twice to only draw 3-3 at home to Grantham Town.
After Craig Westcarr had given the visitors an early lead, Paul Dawson and Matty Blinkhorn scored to put the hosts ahead.
However, Westcarr levelled the scores up, only for Dawson to head home with 18 minutes remaining. Unfortunately, City could not hang on and Westcarr completed his hat-trick 10 minutes from time
A win would have seen the Dolly Blues move to seventh in the table – just a point behind the play-off positions.
“It was definitely two points dropped,” Fell said. “You can’t defend like that.
“I thought we created enough chances to win two or three games.
“That was a positive for me, but it’s an absolute sickener that we have gone up in the game twice and the goals we have given away are absolute horror shows.
“That’s the thing; we tend to have to work for our goals – we have to graft for them, but they didn’t have to graft for their goals.
“It was a massive disappointment because it was an opportunity for us to go sixth or seventh and be a couple of points off the top.”
Meanwhile, Fell has praised veteran midfielder David Norris, who has notched seven goals for City this season.
“I am getting a bit of talking about him and how good he has been,” said Fell.
“I feel like a fan rather than his manager.
“He’s a great team man and great to have around the dressing room. Age is just a number to him he’s probably the fittest player that we have got.”
Despite playing in the Championship for most of his career, Norris still enjoys the game so much that he does not mind playing in the less salubrious surrounding which non-league has to offer.
“Before coming here he played at Shaw Lane and Salford City so he knows what it’s all about.
“He’s a football man and just has a great desire to win football matches.”
On Tuesday, City travel to Squires Gate in the LFA Challenge Trophy.