Players fighting for places in Lancaster city squad

Lancaster City boss Mark Fell admits he has some difficult decisions to make in the coming weeks as he formulates his squad for the forthcoming season.

Thursday, 24th June 2021, 8:00 am
Niall Cowperthwaite is one of several players to agree new deals at Lancaster (photo: Tony North)

The Dolly Blues returned to pre-season training last Thursday where Fell was able to run the rule over a number of trialists as well as his existing squad.

Around 30 players have been in attendance at the first two training sessions with 10 of those being trialists.

Five of those are players who Fell invited back after the successful trials weekend which the club staged in May, but another five have arrived looking hungry and eager to win deals.

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The City boss admitted it was more than likely that the club would welcome other trialists to their training sessions over the next few weeks.

Fell said he would need to cut the squad down to a manageable 20 and he admitted he has been given plenty of food for thought.

“What I will say is that it’s very fluid at the moment,” said Fell.

“We have had 10 trialists who have done well including the five who we invited from the trials event we held.

“This week I have had a striker ring me who has just been released by a League One club and so we are keen to take a look at him more closely.

“Ultimately in around 10 days’ time, I am going to need to get this squad of 30 down to around 20.

“We could probably operate with slightly over 20 but not by much.

“It’s not cut-throat or anything – everything is done in the right spirit – but the lads have got to know that we want to put the best squad together to attack the NPL Premier Division next season.

“I suppose the scariest message from me is that there are probably going to be some good players who will leave this football club this summer.

“That’s good in a way because it means we will have better players in the squad but the standard is so high that it makes it tough for a manager.”

Despite many question marks still hanging over his squad, Fell has begun the process of tying players to new deals.

Over the past week, players such as Andy Teague, Niall Cowperthwaite, Tom Kilifin, Christian Sloan, Simon Wills and Charlie Bailey have all agreed terms for next season. Fell revealed he has an agreement in principle with veteran midfielder David Norris.

Three players who have yet to commit are Matty Blinkhorn, Glenn Steel and Rob Wilson.

“We’ve not done deals with those three but that’s not to say we won’t,” said Fell.

“We have effectively got deals on the table for them and they are training with us, but we have got to make sure the deals are right for everybody.

“There will be more news regarding retained players in the next week or so.”