Fylde manager speaks out on club’s ‘casualties’

Tom Hannigan
Tom Hannigan

AFC Fylde manager Dave Challinor is keen to explain the reasons for several senior players leaving the club.

Five have left for pastures new since the Coasters became full-time and four have already signed for new clubs.

Captain Tom Hannigan and midfielder Brad Barnes have moved to promoted clubs Altrincham Town and Salford City respectively, while winger Danny Lloyd and goalkeeper Ben Hinchliffe have both joined Stockport County. Full-back Adam Sumner has also chosen to move on.

Challinor says casualties were inevitable this summer. “We needed fresh impetus as we are heading into a new stadium and a new era for the club. We want people here to be the best they can be and going full-time highlights that.

“Our recruitment model has had to change but we still have to be as efficient as possible. We can’t afford to supplement a player’s wage from their job away from football just to keep hold of them. It isn’t sustainable.

“Adam Sumner was given the option to come back in for pre-season and earn himself a deal. He missed games with an injured shoulder and hasn’t done the appropriate rehab to fix that problem.

“We can’t afford to go into a long season with contracted players that could potentially be out for extended periods.

“He has chosen to move on but the door is always open if he wants to come back and prove himself.

“If someone had given me the chance to do that, then I would have wanted to prove them wrong but that’s completely up to him. We are still looking at options in both full- back areas but nothing has happened as of yet.”

Stephen Crainey finished the season as Fylde’s left-back and Challinor says the former Blackpool ace is in his plans.

He added: “We are looking further down the line with Crains in terms of a coaching role with the first team and potentially the academy.

“He wants to take part in pre-season and push himself forward as a player. He is a very experienced player and one we very much want to keep around.”

Challinor admits he would have liked to keep some of the departed players. “We knew when we signed Ben Hinchliffe four years ago that it would be difficult to take him full-time.

“He has a well-paid job and we would have had to make him a ridiculous offer.

“Tom Hannigan is one we would have loved to keep but it just wasn’t possible. We tried to sign Tom four years ago but chose to be loyal to his club at the time. If we’d got him sooner, we might have moved up the leagues a little quicker because he has been fantastic.

“We didn’t want to get into a situation where some of the lads were part-time and some full-time. Everybody must be committed for this to work.

“Danny Lloyd was looking for a change because he wants play more regularly. I can’t guarantee anyone a place because we will have massive competition, particularly in attacking areas.

“Brad Barnes could perhaps have gone full-time but again I think both parties needed a change.

“We didn’t see the best of him last year but he has done a good job for us. His partner has just had a baby and he has chosen to go somewhere closer to where he lives.

“Every player who has left goes with our best wishes, but it is time for us to look forward and continue to build a stronger team for next year.”

DANIEL AGNEW