Lancaster City boss Mark Fell looks to the Sky for help in beating Celtic

Manager Mark Fell (photo: Tony North)Manager Mark Fell (photo: Tony North)
Manager Mark Fell (photo: Tony North)
Lancaster City must hit the ground running when they open their NPL Premier Division campaign with a trip to Stalybridge Celtic.

The Dolly Blues travel to Bower Fold looking to get the season off to the best possible start by returning north with all three points.

However, it will not be easy for City as their opponents have already had a taste of competitive action already.

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Last week they defeated Stocksbridge Park Steels 3-1 in the FA Cup preliminary round and will be looking to make it two wins on the spin this weekend.

“Saturday will be a good indicator of where we are at,” said Fell, whose team take on Atherton Collieries in the first qualifying round of the FA Cup on Tuesday at Giant Axe.

“They are a game ahead of us but if we have aspirations of doing something this year, you probably have to go to places like Stalybridge and get something.

“We will be going there to try to win the game.

“That is the mentality which we will have from the first whistle.

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“With Stalybridge already playing, I feel like I know as much about them as I do my own team.

“It’s something which we do a lot of and do well. We make sure we do our due diligence on the opposition.

“We actually watched their game on Saturday because they were live on TV.

“I watched it and recorded it on Sky-plus and watched it again.

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“We know as much as we can about them and we will try to set ourselves up accordingly to deal with the threats that they pose. They are quite a young and enthusiastic side.”

City were in the play-off zone when the season was curtailed last season due to Covid-19 and Fell believes his men are in a much stronger position than they were this time last season.

Having retained all of last season’s squad, barring Brad Carsley and Danny Pilkington, Fell has added to his squad significantly with some major signings such as Andy Teague, Rhys Turner, Tom Kilifin, Jacob Gregory, Paul Dugdale and Christian Sloan.

“We have brought in some players which has given us a little bit more depth to our squad,” said Fell, who watched his team concede twice late on to lose 4-2 at home to Spennymoor Town on Saturday.

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“Obviously Tom, Paul and Jacob are players we can trust to give depth and competition to our squad. The three others we have brought in – Teaguey gives us that experience, Rhys is one we couldn’t turn down a player of his calibre and with Christian, I get more and more impressed by him every time he engages with us.”

In terms of injuries, Fell has a major doubt over midfielder Paul Dawson with a hamstring strain and he is highly unlikely to feature this weekend.