Lancaster City boss Phil Brown aiming high

The news that only one team will be relegated next season has not really registered on Lancaster City boss Phil Brown's '˜Richter scale'.

Friday, 30th June 2017, 11:13 am
Updated Tuesday, 18th July 2017, 8:54 am
Phil Brown.

The news that only one team will be relegated next season has not really registered on Lancaster City boss Phil Brown’s ‘Richter scale’.

A new restructuring of the English non-league pyramid, which involves an extra division being created at both step three and step four for the 2018/19 season, was officially confirmed this week.

It will mean that the top two teams from the Evo-Stik League First Division North – the one which the Dolly Blues finished champions of last season – will earn automatic promotion next season alongside the club which wins the play-offs.

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The restructure will also result in only the bottom side being relegated from the NPL Premier Division – the one which City will ply their trade in next season. Brown admits the fact that only one team will face relegation is a bonus especially as his team look to adapt to a higher level after winning promotion.

However, Brown has set his sights higher than just mere survival next season.

“Having just one relegation place is obviously going to help the teams in our division,” said Brown.

“Hopefully we are not the team which does finish bottom.

“But I will be honest, I haven’t paid too much attention to the restructure because my outlook is to look up rather than down.”

Even though the Dolly Blues are entering slightly into the unknown next season, Brown believes his team are more than capable of challenging the best teams in the division.

“We have not really sat down and dotted the i’s and dotted the t’s in terms of what we think a good season will be.

“What I will say is that we want to do as well as we possibly can and we are going to go for it next season.

“I want us to be a bit more expansive without coming away from the defensive side of things which was so successful for us.”

Many managers in non-league often say the hardest thing to do is to actually win promotion to the Premier from the First Division North and that there is a ‘much of a muchness’ between the two divisions.

While understandinging that train of thought, Brown is not totally in agreement with it.

“I think there are going to be some very difficult games for us next season,” he said.

“If you look at the teams who have come down in Altrincham and Stalybridge; a couple of clubs have invested quite heavily. I think there will be a core of teams in the Premier Division which will be significantly better than what we come up against last season.”

City’s players report back for pre-season training on Saturday. Simon Wills is expected to be the final member of last season’s squad to commit his future to the club.