Character pleases Lancaster City boss in promising start to season

Glenn Steel and Ricky Mercer in action for Lancaster City against Buxton.
Glenn Steel and Ricky Mercer in action for Lancaster City against Buxton.

Lancaster City boss Phil Brown has been impressed with his side’s character after a promising start to life in the Evo-Stik Premier Division.

The First Division North champions won 2-1 at Buxton on the opening day before drawing 2-2 with Warrington Town at Giant Axe on Tuesday night.

Both sides are expected to be challenging at the sharp end of the table come the end of the season with the games giving Brown a good idea of where his side are at.

“I’m fairly pleased with the start without going over the top,” he said.

“We’ve taken two points off fancied teams which is obviously a decent start, especially with the first being an away win.

“The most pleasing thing so far is we’ve continued to show the spirit and resilience that won us the league.

“We were apprehensive for the first 30 minutes again Buxton.

“It’s understandable. It was the first game of the season away from home having gone up a division.

“We conceded early doors but didn’t go under.

“Then on Tuesday we went 1-0 down after 12 minutes but crucially didn’t concede the second.

“In both games I think we finished the stronger team and that shows real character.”

A hectic schedule continues on home soil against Mickleover Sports on Saturday with the new Neil Marshall Stand set to be unveiled before kick-off in memory of the club’s legendary former captain who passed away last year.

The Dolly Blues then visit the side they pipped to the title last season, Farsley Celtic, the following Tuesday, August 22.

Brown knows that despite seeing plenty of positives thus far, his side can’t be complacent.

“I’ve seen things in both games that mean we’ll have to learn quickly,” he said.

“I’ve praised the character and the resilience but it can only get you so far.

“The standard of opposition is higher and the challenge is bigger.

“If we are careless in possession or switch off teams are more ruthless and will punish you.

“Compared to this time last year we’ve got three more points and three more goals though.

“I’m not being critical, I’m just being myself and being pragmatic.

“There’s a long way to go, the players know that, and we’re not getting too carried away.”

Louis Mayers has missed the opening two games with a hip problem but is expected to be back in contention at the weekend.

Craig Carney is managing a medial knee ligament issue and is rated as 50-50 for the meeting with Mickleover.

Oliver Wood is unavailable due to a prior commitment.

Ben Hudson and Rob Henry have been the unlucky ones to miss out so far in a deep squad but Brown says everyone will be needed sooner rather than later.

“It’s difficult at this time of year,” he said.

“Pre-season is to prepare lads for the new season but they can come out a bit tired and then they go into the intensity of the new season.

“It can be a time of the season to rotate where as 10 games in you might not need to do it.

“It’s a tough slog at the start and while I might change game plans and formations depending on the opposition I’ve also got to remember I’ve got a 20-man squad chomping at the bit.

“But over the next few games I’m going to need them all, it will be all hands on deck.”