Top five now the priority for City

Lancaster City line up before the Lancashire FA Challenge Trophy

Lancaster City line up before the Lancashire FA Challenge Trophy

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A play-off place would make up for Lancaster City’s agonising defeat in the Lancashire FA Challenge Trophy final according to boss Phil Brown.

The Dolly Blues came within a whisker of upsetting National League North Chorley at the Macron Stadium on Monday night, losing out 3-1 on penalties after a pulsating 2-2 draw in normal time.

Now the focus is back on an assault on the NPL First Division North top five, with City five points back in ninth, ahead of Radcliffe Borough visiting Giant Axe on Saturday.

Brown said: “A play-off place would make up for it.

“It’s a cliché but we’ve got eight cup finals to go. We’ve just got to keep going and pick up every point that we can get.

“If the lads can reproduce something near how they played on Monday night then I’m sure we won’t be far away.

“It is difficult though. There is no leeway now, we’ve used up all our lives.

“We’ve just got to win as many games as we can and that starts on Saturday with Radcliffe.

“We welcome Danny Johnson to Giant Axe, who is a good friend but hopefully we can get three points to stay in and around the play-offs.”

Brown is confident it will not be a case of ‘After the Lord Mayor’s Show’ this weekend with his players well aware of the prize on offer if they can finish the season in style.

The Blues boss said: “If we’d have played poorly on Monday night or hadn’t done ourselves justice then it might have been difficult.

“But the changing room after the game was all right. They know they’ve done all right, they know they’ve been unlucky – they know realistically they were a crossbar away or a goalkeeper’s pair of legs away from causing an upset.

“I don’t doubt their attitude in terms of Saturday coming. They’ll be fine.

“There are some experienced players in there as well who’ll help. Our captain Neil Marshall was outstanding on Monday night. He led the team magnificently and he’ll just nudge one or two others.

“The season’s not over and they’ll want to finish on a high.

“Billy Akrigg said straight after the game, ‘We play Radcliffe on Saturday – let’s get three points, keep going and get in the play-offs’.

“One or two may be a bit tired but mentally they will be fine.”

Elsewhere in the division, Clitheroe will be hoping to maintain their play-off bid when they travel to Harrogate Railway Athletic.

Burscough, who are a point and a place above the Blues, visit Spennymoor Town. Kendal Town face bottom side New Mills.