Lancaster City boss: Title race not over yet

Lancaster City boss Phil Brown insists the title race is still on as he tries to pick his side up from a disappointing defeat to Prescot Cables.
Captain Ricky Mercer could miss Lancaster City's final three games. Picture: Tony NorthCaptain Ricky Mercer could miss Lancaster City's final three games. Picture: Tony North
Captain Ricky Mercer could miss Lancaster City's final three games. Picture: Tony North

The 2-0 reverse in their game in hand on Tuesday night leaves the Dolly Blues one point behind leaders Farsley with three games to play.

Only the Evo-Stik First Division North title winners are promoted automatically with second place dropping into the lottery of the play-offs.

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Brown takes his side to mid-table Droylsden on Saturday before the Easter Monday derby against Kendal Town at Giant Axe.

The season then concludes at Glossop North End on April 22 with the Blues boss predicting more twists and turns in his side’s promotion bid.

“On Saturday it could all change again,” he said.

“If we win this weekend and they draw at Colwyn Bay then we’re in the driving seat again.

“I’m not dismissing Tuesday night, it was really disappointing and it was a missed opportunity, but in a way it doesn’t change things.

“It’s still a one game season.

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“Who knows what is going to happen? It’s certainly not over yet.

“We’ve just got to be better than we were on Tuesday night.

“The first half was okay and the second half wasn’t.”

Captain Ricky Mercer limped off at Prescot with a tight calf with Glenn Steel having rolled his ankle in the 1-0 win over relegation-threatened Goole at Giant Axe last Saturday.

The central defensive duo and Rob Henry, who has a knee problem, could miss the final three games with Brown saying he might shake things up at Droylsden on Saturday.

“I’ve got to have a think about what we’re going to do on Saturday,” said the City boss.

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“Without giving too much away I’ll have a look at shape and personnel because we might need to freshen things up.

“Some players haven’t been in this position before, others have played a lot of football and might need a breather and we’ve had a few injuries at a bad time as well.

“Ricky and Glenn are experienced players for us but we’ve got Josh Westwood who played 20-odd games before coming out of the team.”

Illness ruled out striker Tom Kilifin against Prescot Cables, Craig Carney having been unwell and missed the game against Goole before returning on Merseyside on Tuesday night.

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No matter who goes out on Saturday, Brown is expecting a vast improvement.

“The first half was really even but I thought we shaded it with the couple of opportunities we had,” he said.

“We did alright before the break. It was a bit of a pressure game because they needed a point to be safe too.

“The first goal was always going to be important and we lost our discipline and organisation and they capitalised.

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“We huffed and puffed but couldn’t sustain anything and lost belief as the game went on.

“There was a lack of discipline again for their second goal even if they got a bit of fortune with the ricochet.

“We just lacked the experience of knowing how important it is to stay in the game right until the death.

“After their second it was a nothing contest.”