AFC Fylde manager Dave Challinor describes tomorrow’s FA Trophy first round tie with Brackley Town as a ‘free hit’.
The Coasters’ title bid in Vanarama National League – in which they enjoy a seven-point advantage over their nearest pursuers – goes on the back-burner for one week only.
And though Challinor regards the tie as secondary in importance to going for promotion to the National League, tomorrow’s match has its attractions.
Brackley Town acquitted themselves well in the FA Cup, reaching the second round last Saturday when they gave a good account of themselves before losing 1-0 to Blackpool at Bloomfield Road.
Challinor said: “We know a lot about Brackley; we played them earlier in the season in the league (1-1 draw).
“Their squad has stayed basically the same; it is a small squad and they changed their system at the start of the season.
“It probably took them some time to adapt and get going, but everyone in the team knows their job and they have a lot of experience at this level.
“They are a good side and they are well organised and with such a small squad they will probably not make many changes.”
However, the Coasters’ boss says that he will probably give a number of players who have not figured of late a runout.
He said: “We will still put a side out that I believe will be strong enough to win.
“But in terms of priority the league is our number one and we will look on this as a free hit in the FA Trophy.”
Fylde have lost just one match all season in a campaign that began with a match against Brackley in August, one which marked the opening of their new Mill Farm stadium.
Brackley are managed by former Wrexham boss Kevin Wilkin and they created a favourable impression with their FA Cup exploits, which included a first round win over Gillingham.
Challinor said that such excellent performances reflected much credit on Vanarama National League North.
He added: “A win like that shows that the top 10 or so clubs in our division could certainly compete in the league above.
“And in a one-off game against a Football League club, they would also have a chance.”
AFC Fylde report no fresh problems for the visit of Brackley.
Macauley Wilson, on loan from Blackpool FC, is ineligible as he is cup-tied, having previously played in the FA Trophy while on loan at Bamber Bridge.