Lancaster City boss Phil Brown insists this Saturday’s game with Trafford is as big as Tuesday night’s cup semi-final with Padiham.
The Dolly Blues are in NPL First Division North action at Giant Axe before the last-four clash with the East Lancashire side in the Lancashire FA Challenge Trophy.
Brown is adamant that his focus is on another league victory on Saturday as his side – who have lost just one of their last 11 games – look to keep pace with the play-off places.
He said: “My methodology is always to look at the next game. To be honest with you, my focus isn’t on the semi-final at all.
“In my mind, the game against Trafford is every bit as big a game. Hopefully the players will have the same philosophy.
“We have to look at this Saturday first and then the semi-final after that.
“Another thing to think about is that I’ve got a fully-fit squad to choose from and the players should be doing their upmost to be in Tuesday’s squad.”
Brown’s men have played the highest number of games in the division – 30 – and are currently eighth in the table ahead of the game against Trafford.
It has reached the stage of the season, therefore, where every point is key, according to the Blues boss.
Brown said: “Each game at this moment is a big game.
“Every point or three points is vital. Every game is vital at this stage of the season.
“Looking at individuals, if they can handle that sort of occasion, knowing we need to win on Saturday, then they’re more than likely to be the kind of players who can get us through in a semi-final.”
Brown admits he has done some homework on North West Counties Premier Division side Padiham ahead of the semi-final meeting at the County Ground in Leyland but says that will be put to one side.
He said: “At 5pm on Saturday my focus will shift to Tuesday night.
“That’s not to say I haven’t done any homework on Padiham because I have had a good look at them.
“But it won’t impact on Saturday.”
City head into the game against Trafford on the back of a 0-0 draw at in-form Farsley last time out.
The Yorkshire side had won 12 of their previous 13 games but the Dolly Blues were dominant for long periods, despite being unable to turn pressure into goals.
Brown said: “I think after the game the feeling was probably one of a missed opportunity. It would have been good to take points off a play-off rival.”