Lancaster have a striker emergency - boss Mark Fell is looking to bolster forward line
Mark Fell admits Lancaster City’s season could hinge on his ability to bolster his strikeforce over the coming days.
The Dolly Blues welcome NPL Premier Division leaders Matlock Town to Giant Axe without a recognised striker within their ranks.
With leading goalscorer Sam Fishburn long since returned to his parent club Carlisle United, Fell has been having to rely on Tom Kilifin as his only recognised No.9, with Rhys Turner a player more suited to the No.10 position.
However, to make matters worse, Kilfin has work commitments so will miss this weekend.
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Fell has been on the lookout for a striker in any case as the goals have dried up for his side in recent weeks.
They have notched just three times in their last six games in the league – a far cry from earlier in the season when a Fishburn-led forward line smashed 15 goals in four games.
On Saturday, City’s current problems in front of goal were evident once more as they fell to a 2-0 defeat at Radcliffe despite creating a number of good chances.
But they were always going to be up against it after Boro forward Bobby Grant scored early on and then smashed home a spot-kick soon after following Lewis Fensome’s red card for a professional foul.
“The lad who scored their goals, I had as an apprentice when he was 16-years-old at Accrington Stanley,” Fell said.
“He’s played in League One and he’s good player.
“Our biggest issue is we haven’t got a striker and I need to get a striker in before this weekend. Tom is our only recognised No.9 and he’s scored some important goals for us but he’s not allowed to have a bad game because we have got nothing else.
“He is now working because he works one weekend in five and Rhys Turner has been a makeshift No.9 at times but he’s been injured .
“From my perspective, I have to bring somebody in as a striker this weekend – at least one, maybe two.
“I am pushing every button I can do. We will be going to all the ends to find somebody.
“We already look at the North West Counties League to see who is doing really well and could they make the step up.
“Sometimes you can find a gem, but we might have to look at academy teams or ones at our level, but a good striker at our level can earn £500 per week, we can’t afford half that.”
Meanwhile, Fell insists the Dolly Blues doe not have a disciplinary problem Lewis Fensome becoming the latest City player to be red carded.
Lancaster have paid the price for being at a numerical disadvantage several times this season with both Niall Cowperthwaite and Andy Teague finding themselves on the wrong side of the referee.
Cowperthwaite has seen red on two occasions, although the second one was rescinded on appeal.
Fensome’s misdemeanour was more a mistake than a lack of discipline as he brought down Radcliffe striker Bobby Grant when he was clean through on goal.
“To be honest, I think it’s a misconception,” said Fell.
“I hear supporters talking about it. You look at Paul Dawson as a case in point. This time last year he had six bookings and two sending offs, this season he just has three bookings.
“So it is something we have addressed. We haven’t had a sending off for a horrendous two-footed challenge.
“We have had not anybody sent off for dissent.
“Whilst I agree the red cards have cost us in games, discipline-wise we are better than last season.”
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