City are the sole survivor

Neil Wainwright
Neil Wainwright
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Nothing – not even last weekend’s freezing conditions – can stop red-hot Lancaster City at the moment.

The Dolly Blues home match against Prescot Cables last weekend was the only game in the Northern Premier League to beat the weather.

And City made sure they did not waste all the hard work of the groundstaff at Giant Axe, who worked diligently to get the game on.

They put in an excellent performance to brush aside Prescot 3-1, a result which leaves them unbeaten this year.

In fact, City have collected four wins from their past seven games – the only defeat in that run coming against Bamber Bridge 4-3 on Boxing Day.

The way City have performed over the last six weeks or so has given their supporters plenty of optimism that the team could still force themselves into the NPL First Division North play-off picture after a fraught first half of the season.

Joint player-boss Neil Wainwright said that confidence is sky high amongst his squad at the moment.

He told the Evening Post: “We are certainly looking at the teams above us in the table rather than the teams below us.

“The only thing which isn’t at our advantage is that we have played a lot more games than everybody else.

“But we would rather have points on the board and if we can continue with this run of form that we are on, then we are certainly capable of getting a lot more wins between now and the end of the season.

“We are going really well at the moment – we haven’t lost since the turn of the year and only lost one in seven.

“On Saturday against Prescot, the first half-an-hour, I was really pleased – we could have scored four or five.

“I was a litlle bit disappointed that we let them back in it with their only chance of the first half to make it 2-1.

“The second half was a bit scrappy, but all in all, it was a good three points and a decent performance.”

Over the next week, City face a double header against Ossett Albion. Tomorrow, they travel to Queens Terrace before welcoming the Yorkshire-based outfit to Giant Axe next weekend.

“I think this weekend’s match at Ossett Albion is very important because we play them again at home the week after,” Wainwright said.

“We need a positive result down there tomorrow which will hopefully bode well for when we play them next week at home.

“We are looking at trying to take maximum points from the two games, but we have got to make sure we are at it on the day.

“If you look this week, Burscough beat Skem 4-1, which is their first defeat of the season, so it just goes to show that anybody can beat anybody in this division.”

Bamber Bridge will be aiming to cure their travel sickness tomorrow when they visit New Mills.

Neil Crowe’s men have picked up just two wins on the road in the NPL First Division North this season and they need to significantly improve this aspect of their record if they are to make a belated run for the play-offs.

At home, Brig are becoming a very difficult team to beat having gone seven games unbeaten in the league at Irongate – a run which has included four victories.

In fact, the last team to beat Brig at home in a league game was New Mills, who departed Irongate back in October in high spirits after a thumping 4-1 victory.

If anything, Brig have a better chance of picking up their third away win of the season by playing the Millers at home.

In eight away games this season, they have not lost once – winning seven of them. However, on their home patch they have been beaten three times.

Brig’s club captain Luke Atherton is likely to make his second start since returning from a long-term injury. Fellow centre-back Jerome Fitzgerald, who has also spent a period of time on the treatement table, could also figure.

Elsewhere in the First Division North, Burscough will be looking to build on their tremendous 4-1 victory over Skelmerdale United in midweek when they face Harrogate Railway Athletic at Victoria Park.

The Linnets inflicted the first defeat of the season on title favourites Skem and will be hoping to reproduce the same sort of form this weekend.

Clitheroe are still firmly in the play-off picture. They are currently placed in fourth position – six points behind leaders Mossley having played a game more.

Tomorrow they welcome lowly Ossett Town to Shawbridge.

In the Premier Division, there is a real relegation scrap as second-bottom Kendal Town welcome basement boys Eastwood Town to Parkside Road.

Southport manager Liam Watson was hoping to bring in a trio of new signings ahead of tomorrow’s trip to Hereford in the Conference Premier.