Lancaster City boss backs side to thrive in title decider
Lancaster City boss Phil Brown is confident his side will thrive under pressure in their title decider.
A topsy-turvy Easter weekend leaves the Dolly Blues one point clear of Farsley Celtic at the top ahead of the trip to play-off chasing Glossop North End on Saturday’s final day of the Evo-Stik First Division North season.
A 1-0 defeat at Droylsden on Saturday had seemingly put a serious dent in City’s hopes of ending the campaign as champions but they bounced back with a 3-0 derby win over Kendal on Monday as Farsley slipped up with a 2-0 defeat to Ossett Town.
It all makes things pretty straight forward for Brown and his Blues, who know victory at Surrey Street will see them promoted.
“We need to match or better Farsley’s result but we’re not going to play that game,” said the Lancaster boss.
“Our destiny is in our own hands.
“Make no mistake, it’s going to be a really hard game. “Glossop need something to get into the play-offs and have a phenomenal home record.
“We’re not kidding ourselves but we’re not going to be defeatist.
“We’re really, really looking forward to it and we’ll give it our best shot to win the title.”
For Brown, the game has echoes of last season’s Lancashire FA Challenge Trophy final, City putting in a fine display as they lost on penalties to National League North Chorley at the Macron Stadium.
“The players know what’s required,” he said.
“We’ll have a game plan and there’s bits to discuss but it’s black and white now.
“They won’t need motivating, it’s there for all to see.
“I’ll be reminding them that what they’ve done for the vast majority of the season has been good enough.
“The key is being not too overawed.
“It’s a bit like the final at the Macron last year.
“We were playing a team from a higher level in front of 1,500 fans and gave a good account of ourselves.
“We were cool, calm and natural.
“This is part of a league campaign but it’s a one-off game.
“I’m confident we can deliver but of course it will be nerve-jangling.”
One thing about that night at the home of Bolton Wanderers was the support Brown’s side received.
He is hoping for similar in the Peak District this Saturday with club officials offering subsidised coach travel.
“I’d just urge as many people as possible to come along and support us,” said the City manager.
“It was a great to see so many people at the cup final last season and if even half of them make the trip it will be a big boost for the lads.”
One man who will be on the minds of many of those on and off the field at Glossop will be Neil Marshall.
The former captain and club legend passed away in November at the age of just 31 after a battle with cancer having only retired from playing a few months earlier.
“Some of the lads in the changing room, if not all of them, and myself, will be very, very conscious that we can pay a fitting tribute to Marshy,” said Brown.
“It would be the perfect way to pay homage to a Lancaster legend and a good, genuine guy.”
Captain Ricky Mercer and central defensive partner Glenn Steel are both 50-50 to feature on the final day.
Young striker Hannu Tam is available again after spending time back home in Malaysia while Adam Sumner could return after struggling with a sore groin.