Crunch clash for Fylde in race to be runner-up

Dave Challinor
Dave Challinor
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AFC Fylde manager Dave Challinor believes tomorrow’s clash with North Ferriby United will be pivotal in the race for second place in the National League North.

The Coasters currently sit in the runners-up spot, one point ahead of the Humberside club who have a game in hand, and Challinor knows three points would put his side in control of the race for second.

The Fylde boss said: “Both sides are probably two wins from securing their place in the play-offs but it’s still not a given. It’s not easy to pick up results in this league.

“We still have to play teams in and around us and North Ferriby are right up there.

“They have the same ambitions as us to finish second and this weekend’s game could have a big say in that.

“There is still a long way to go and things could change, but if there is a winner on the day it will put that club in pole position for runners-up spot.

“We are a completely different team to the one that got beat 3-0 at their place earlier in the season. We lost the game and deservedly so.

“We are in a better position going into the game this time around, with far fewer injury problems. Both central defenders (Josh Langley and Tom Hannigan) missed the trip and that put us at a massive disadvantage.

“They are a tough team to play agains,t and we have to accept the fact they are going to put pressure on us and get the ball forward.

“Tom Denton is a handful for them but we have threats ourselves and we have to make sure we produce a performance we are capable of.”

Fylde are unbeaten in eight games but have drawn their last two at Brackley and Stalybridge, and Challinor admits too many draws may prove costly again.

“We have put together a decent run of results and I don’t think performances have differed an awful lot during that time.

“We have played to our potential in some of those games – the Boston game springs to mind and of course Stockport on Easter Monday.

“They are the games when it has clicked but there have been other games when we perhaps could have done a little better. Stalybridge on Tuesday was one. If we had taken the chances we created, it could have been a similar scoreline to the home game against them (Fylde won 5-0).

“Last season the draws had ultimately cost us promotion. We only drew 10 but a lot of them were towards the end of the season.

“We have lost more games than last year but we have also won more. Draws are OK if you can back them up with wins, so it’s frustrating not to have done that this week.”

Left-back Adam Sumner is a doubt after picking up an ankle injury at Bower Fold, though Matty Blinkhorn could return after tonsillitis.

Runaway leaders Solihull Moors could be confirmed as champions tomorrow if they win at Telford and North Ferriby fail to beat Fylde.

DANIEL AGNEW