NELSON boss Mark Fell is in the market for a new centre half ahead of this weekend’s trip to 1874 Northwich in the North West Counties League Premier Division.

Fell lost towering defender George Mellings to what could be a season-ending cruciate knee ligament injury during the midweek Lancashire Challenge Trophy penalty shoot-out loss to Clitheroe on Tuesday night.


And Fell is keen to add to his squad to compensate for the loss of the 29-year-old.

“We are looking to bring someone in but it is trying to get a deal done before the weekend,” said Fell.

“George has been a fantastic player for us and although we have other centre halves in our squad we want to bring someone in who is of a similar calibre to George. He wins everything in the air and is a towering presence for us.

“Everyone knew it was a bad injury when it happened. It is such a shame as he had a knee cartlidge operation in the summer and has only just come back. We have won all six of the league games he has played for us which shows how important he is to us.

“He went to hospital on Tuesday night but his knee was still so swollen that we won’t know the extent of it until Tuesday when he goes back for a scan.

“The feeling is that it is a cruciate knee inury and it is such a blow for him.”

The injury occurred 20 minutes from time during Nelson’s visit to Clitheroe on Tuesday night Fell’s side were 1-0 up. Clitheroe levelled before prevailing on penalites.

“We were so unlucky not to win,” said Fell. “I think everyone who was there would accept that we were the better team on the day but we must take heart from it and take that into Saturday now.”

Nelson begin the day in sixth, seven points behind their hosts and 19 points behind leaders Runcorn Linnets although Fell’s men do have three games in hand.

“We still think we have a chance of promotion this season but for that to happen we have to win tomorrow,” said Fell. “It is a must win for us really as we need to claw back some points on the top three. We have to play them all home and away so there is 18 points for us there and that would bring us right into contention.”

“It is the two sides that came up together last season when we beat them twice so we know we can get the better of them. We will have to cope with a big crowd as it is their second anniversary so there will be a lot of home support there. We will travel in confident mood though.”

Elsewhere basement boys Bacup & Rossendale Borough host Runcorn Town while improving Colne are at home to Glossop North End. Barnoldswick Town are on the road at Ashton Athletic.

In Division One AFC Darwen, who have seen their previous two games washed out, host Atherton LR.