Lancaster City boss Mark Fell to keep faith with players who contributed to final run

Lancaster City boss Mark Fell intends to keep faith with the players who did most of the work in getting to the final of the LFA Challenge Trophy.

Lancaster boss Mark Fell
Lancaster boss Mark Fell

The Dolly Blues take on Prestwich Heys on Monday in the showpiece match of the competition – a fixture which has been carried over from the Covid-19 ravaged campaign of 2019-20.

Nearly a year and a half has passed since the final should have been played and naturally there have been changes in both clubs’ squads in that time.

In fairness, City have not had too much of a turnover among their playing staff, although the same could not be said of Prestwich.

As it is both clubs have agreed that any player in their current squad is eligible to play even if they were not signed on during the 2019-20 season.

Fell though insists it is only right that players who have contributed to the cup run should take priority over players who have only just joined.

“There’s been a bit of wrangling in the background regarding player eligibility,” said Fell, who was disappointed to see Wednesday night’s planned friendly against Carlisle United at Giant Axe cancelled by the visitors. “They have signed a lot of new players for the forthcoming season having been promoted into the NWCL Premier Division.

“They have effectively said if they can’t use their new players, then they are not going to play.

“For us, it was a case of do we dig our heels in and say these are the rules of the competition or do we not get the chance to go and win a final?

“Our new players will be allowed to play but from my perspective, I would back any of my players to play in that game.

“I think the likelihood is that I will lean towards those players that got us to the final.

“That is the right thing to do.

“As long as they are fit enough and in good form – there is obviously a caveat because we want to win but where possible we will play those who have got us this far because they have earned that right.

“We have not really had a big turnover of players. The only player who won’t be there is Brad Carsley.

“He scored in the quarter-final and semi-final but he’s not with us any more.

“But the message to the players is that you don’t get these opportunities too often so take the opportunity and go and win a trophy.”

Last weekend, City won the inaugural Lockstep Trophy when they defeated Clitheroe on penalties in the final after a 0-0 draw.

The pre-season tournament saw Burnley Under-23s and Ashton Athletic also take part.

This weekend, City face Workington away in a pre-season fixture. Lancaster City boss Mark Fell intends to keep faith with the players who did most of the work in getting to the final of the LFA Challenge Trophy.

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