Players did not perform says Dolly Blues caretaker boss Stanley

Ben Hudson will be available this weekend
Ben Hudson will be available this weekend

Craig Stanley insists the players must take a fair share of the blame following the departure of Phil Brown as Lancaster City manager.

The ex-Dolly Blues boss fell on his sword on Saturday after the club exited the FA Cup, losing 2-0 to lower league opposition Trafford at Giant Axe.

It was City’s sixth defeat in seven games – they lost their opening five games in the NPL Premier Division before drawing 1-1 with derby rivals Bamber Bridge.

That result last Tuesday week had given Brown heart that his men could turn things around, but the performance and result against Trafford was the final straw.

Veteran central defender Stanley – who arrived at the club this summer as player-coach – has, for the moment, been placed in temporary control of first-team affairs alongside fellow player Matty Blinkhorn, another summer recruit.

They have been tasked with trying to get the club’s first win on the board – something they were unable to do on Tuesday night when they lost 2-0 at league leaders South Shields.

While interested in taking the job on a permanent basis should the opportunity arise, Stanley admits he was hugely disappointed to see Brown leave.

“As a team and as players, we have let Phil down,” Stanley said. “We haven’t performed as well as we should have done. The results and performances have not been good enough and that has led to Phil leaving.

“So obviously I am disappointed. He brought me to the club and I was looking forward to learning from him as a coach.

North Ferriby United visit Giant Axe this weekend and it is a game which City must look to win.

Stanley said: “North Ferriby have just come down from the National League North, so will still have some quality players. We need to make Giant Axe a hard place to come and play.”

Squad-wise, Ben Hudson and Steve Williams will be available this weekend and Tom Baker is set to return to training tonight.

Elsewhere, AFC Fylde boss Dave Challinor believes last Saturday’s goalless draw at Eastleigh in the National League could turn out to be a decent point – as long as they secure a home win over Aldershot this weekend. “Disappointing draws away from home ultimately become good points if you can follow that up with a home win and that will be the case tomorrow if we can get a good result against Aldershot.” In the National League North, Southport are at home to Darlington.

In the NPL First Division West, Clitheroe host Colwyn Bay and Kendal are away to Mossley. In the FA Vase second qualifying round, Garstang visit Darwen, Burscough travel to Irlam and Charnock Richard are away to Penrith.

In the NWCL First Division North, Longridge are away to Holker Old Boys.