AFC Fylde boost for crunch double-header

Dave Challinor
Dave Challinor

AFC Fylde manager Dave Challinor is buoyed by an improvement in the club’s injury situation as the National League North promotion-chasers prepare for a vital double-header.

The Coasters have two important away fixtures in the coming days, starting with tomorrow’s trip to Hednesford United. They follow that up with a visit to Alfreton on Tuesday.

Broken nose victim Richie Baker is in contention to figure in both matches, though if he does get the all-clear he will have to don a protective mask.

Other injury casualties – such as Alex Whittle, Dom Collins and Brad Barnes – are also making good progress.

Challinor has earmarked the top of the table clash with Solhull Moors on December 19 as a possible date for the return of the fray of central defender Tom Hannigan.

Such was the depth of the injury worries besetting Fylde that Challinor had been seriously exploring the loan market to strengthen his squad.

And though a new man could yet come in, the improvement in the condition of a number of players has been a boost to Challinor.

AFC Fylde go into tomorrow’s match at Hednesford in fourth place, while the Pitmen occupy 15th place in the National League North standings.

It has been a season of flux for Hednesford, who changed their manager in September.

Rob Smith returned to Telford, while Bernard McNally took over at Hednesford.

Challinor said: “We have two tough away trips coming up in quick succession.

“We would like to get maximum points from both but we know that will be very difficult.

“Hednesford picked up some good results at the start of the season and they showed what they could do when they got a draw with (league leaders) Solihull Moors.

“Their recent results have not been as good and they went out of the FA Trophy last Saturday to lower league opposition (Leamington).”

“But the table is very tight right down to the bottom.

“For instance, Brackley are one of the teams down there but there is no way they should be a struggling side (having drawn at Fylde three weeks ago).”

Challinor was at Skelmersdale this week to run his eye over the side the Coasters meet in the FA Trophy a week tomorrow. Skem caused an upset by beating Chorley 5-2 to earn their visit to Kellamergh Park, causing a cup upset

He added: “Nothing surprises me in football, and the match with Skelmersdale will see two sides who like to get the ball down and play.”