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Busy festive period ahead for Lancaster City as hunt for new boss goes on

It's a busy festive period for Lancaster City. Image by Michael Porter Photography.

Lancaster City play three games over the festive period as their search for a new management team continues.

The Dolly Blues take on Worksop Town at home on Saturday (December 23) before travelling to Bamber Bridge in a local derby on Boxing Day.

They then welcome Atherton Collieries to the Giant Axe on New Year’s Day.

The interim management team of Andrew Teague and Simon Grand are expected to take charge of at least the first two of those games.

Lancaster City said in a statement on December 15 that they were hoping to “provide a further update” this week after “positive” discussions with “relevant parties” but, as of yet, the club have not given any more information on their managerial search. 

The managerial position has been vacant since November 22, when Mark Fell resigned after five years at The Giant Axe.

Under interim bosses Teague and Grand, Lancaster have registered two wins and a draw.

They drew 2-2 to Bradford Park Avenue on November 25, before beating Whitby Town 2-1 on November 28.

Due to a combination of frozen pitches, opposition fixture clashes and, in the case of Marske United - the team they were meant to play on December 12 - the opponent’s licence to play being suspended, the Dolly Blues had a two and a half week break from playing after their Whitby win.

However, they returned to action in style last Saturday (December 16) with a 4-2 away victory over the league’s second bottom side Stafford Rangers. 

Lancaster are currently 13th in the table, eight points outside of the playoff places, but have at least one game in hand over the vast majority of teams above them.

On Saturday, City will host Worksop Town, a team who are flying this season following their promotion in 2022/23 as champions of the NPL Division One East. 

‘The Tigers’ are currently fourth in the NPL Premier Division and recorded a 4-0 home win over FC United of Manchester last Saturday, but that isn’t the biggest margin they’ve won by in the league this season.

Worksop scored 16 goals across an eight day period back in November, beating Morpeth Town, Atherton Collieries and Stafford Rangers 7-0, 4-1 and 5-0 respectively in consecutive games.

They are the second highest scoring team in the division with 50, only behind Radcliffe on 55.

That being said, City managed to keep them quiet on their own turf in the reverse fixture back in August, which ended 0-0.

On Boxing Day, Lancaster will travel to Bamber Bridge for the traditional festive derby game to wrap up 2023.

With the exception of the voided 2020/21 season, the two sides have met during the festive period every year since 2019.

Unfortunately for Lancaster though, none of those meetings - and in fact none of the last seven league clashes between the sides - have ended in a Dolly Blue win.

Bamber Bridge are having a tougher season than they did last year, so City will be looking to take advantage of their inconsistent campaign so far. 

‘Brig’ were impressive last season and were playoff finalists in the NPL Premier Division, losing out to Warrington Town late on,  but currently find themselves 15th in the table.

Before a 2-1 win over Matlock Town on Saturday, they hadn’t won any of their previous six.

Players such as Fin Sinclair Smith and Paul Dawson, who were vital to last year’s promotion push, have left the club since their playoff final defeat.

On New Year’s Day, Lancaster will return to The Giant Axe to take on an Atherton Collieries side who find themselves bottom of the league.

Their fight to stay in the division will not have been helped by this week’s news that goalkeeper Nico Defreitas-Hansen has left the club to take up football opportunities in the United States.

Lancaster beat ‘the Colls’ 2-0 away from home in August in a dominant display, with goals from Simon Grand and Nic Evangelinos.

Atherton have only recorded two league victories since that result and have taken just 11 points from the 21 games they’ve played this season.

They suffered a heavy defeat during the week, losing 5-0 at home to Marine.

The Colls are the leakiest team in the NPL Premier Division, having conceded 54 goals so far this season - an average of over 2.5 per game. 

Lancaster City v Worksop Town kicks off at 3pm on Saturday (December 23) at The Giant Axe.

Bamber Bridge v Lancaster City kicks off at 3pm on Boxing Day at the Sir Tom Finney Stadium.

Lancaster City v Atherton Collieries kicks off at 3pm on New Year’s Day at The Giant Axe.

The New Year’s Day clash is the start of a busy month for Lancaster, with seven games in January - including an LFA Challenge Trophy fixture:

All games are NPL Premier Division fixtures unless stated otherwise:

January 1, 3pm: Atherton Collieries (H)

January 6, 3pm: Macclesfield (A)

January 9, 7.45pm: Radcliffe (H)

January 13, 3pm: Hyde United (H)

January 16, 7.45pm: Bamber Bridge (H) - LFA Challenge Trophy Quarter Final

January 20, 3pm: Whitby Town (A)

January 27, 3pm: Bradford Park Avenue (A)

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