Lancaster City semi-final postponed after opponents' squad is hit by a bout of mumps

Mark FellMark Fell
Mark Fell | freelance
Lancaster City boss Mark Fell admitted he was very disappointed to see his team’s Lancashire FA Challenge Trophy semi-final called off.

The Dolly Blues are due to face Atherton Collieries on Wednesday night at the County Ground for a place in the final at the University of Bolton Stadium – home of the Wanderers – against either Bamber Bridge of Prescot Heys.

However, the match has been postponed under exceptional circumstances after several of the Colls squad were struck down by illness.

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At least six players have been diagnosed with mumps and the LFA have decided to call the game off.

There was also the possibility that the match would not go-ahead anyway due to heavy waterlogging of the pitch at Leyland.

Fell admits he can understand why Atherton have lobbied to have the game called off – he would probably have done the same if the Dolly Blues were in a similar position, but he believes the game should have gone ahead.

“I am not happy about it,” said Fell. “I know the people at Atherton really well, I know the manager Brad Cooke really well. Brad came to me and told me what was happeningand it is a really difficult situation.

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“I think there’s about sixplayers who have come down with mumps and I think the physio has as well.

“They have known about this since Friday, so why have they not gone out and signed a load of new players?

“I do have sympathy, but my job is to get the best outcome for Lancaster City and I think the game should be played.”

City turn their attention to league matters this weekend when they face promotion rivals Nantwich Town at Giant Axe this weekend.

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Currently in third spot in the NPL Premier Division, the Dolly Blues are four points ahead of Town, who have three games in hand.

“It’s an important game for us,” said Fell, wo saw his side’s home game against Mickleover Sports postponed at the weekend.

“They have several very good players that come together to form a very good collective team unit. They are going very well so we will have to be at our best.”