Phil Brown: Lancaster building momentum as big kick-off draws near

Lancaster City boss Phil Brown. Picture: Tony North

Lancaster City boss Phil Brown. Picture: Tony North

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Lancaster City boss Phil Brown feels his side are building momentum as the countdown continues to the Evo-Stik First Division North kick-off.

The Dolly Blues host Droylsden on the opening day on August 13 with Nortwich Victoria the opponents for City’s final friendly at Giant Axe on Saturday.

Over the last week Brown has seen his side come through two tough games against Workington and a strong Preston North End XI.

He said: “I’m fairly pleased (with how things are going).

“We’ve got another game on Saturday which is three games in seven days.

“Everybody’s getting pitch time which is good and looking at our performances rather than the results there is a bit of momentum building, we are looking fitter, sharper and putting more combinations together. I’m happy overall.”

The only downer for the Blues boss is injuries to key players with new signing Louis Mayers and central defender Ricky Mercer struggling with calf problems.

Brown said: “I’m a little bit disappointed we’ve got a few injuries at this stage of the season.

“They’ll be touch and go for the first league game.

“I’m optimistic at least one of them will be available, hopefully two.”

The Preston North End game saw City come up against a Championship side that started with nine professionals including Danish international front man Simon Makienok.

Brown, also the Head of Education at Deepdale, said: “I thought the lads did very well.

“I’m really grateful to them for sending any team but to send one as strong as it was was a real challenge and a real test for our lads.

“I thought we opened up relatively well and in the second half we tired a little bit.

“All it was a great workout and our lads will benefit from that massively.”

Next up is Northwich, a side the Dolly Blues played four times last year only for Vics to be switched to the south division in an Evo-Stik reshuffle.

Brown said: “We’re playing Northwich because they are equivelant to a team in our league.

“It will still be pre-season, players are players, it’s not three points up for grabs in an Evo-Stik game, but it will be as realistic of a test as we can get at this stage of pre-season.

“It’ll give me more of an insight into what my team might be a week on Saturday.”

Off the field Craig Carney’s move to Stockport County has been confirmed, the midfielder having trained with the National League North side throughout pre-season.

Brown believes his replacement can come from within the squad but also hasn’t ruled out another new face.

He said: “It’s a good move for Craig.

“I’m sad to see him go because he’s a quality player.

“If there was ever a lad who deserves to get an opportunity and play higher it’s Craig.

“He’s really professional, he works ever so hard, he was a joy to work with, I’ve known him for a long time and I wish him all the best.

“His departure means somebody else can come in and grab the shirt though.

“We’ve got healthy competition in midfield but if the right player came along who made us better I’m not saying I wouldn’t recruit.”