Fylde boss makes sense of ‘weird’ league

Dave Challinor
Dave Challinor
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AFC Fylde manager Dave Challinor said the National League North promotion chase is beginning to take shape as he spoke of his determination to ensure that his team stay there.

The Coasters entertain Worcester City tomorrow and currently occupy fourth position, with games in hand on all the other top-five clubs.

That means a busy schedule with midweek games and their continued involvement in the FA Trophy.

Challinor told The Gazette: “It is a weird division. I wouldn’t go as far as to say it is sorted out yet but the top six look well ahead of the rest, and from mid-table to the bottom it is very close.

“The Worcester match is the start of a really important few weeks for us.

“If we play anything like as well as we did in beating Eastbourne Borough last Saturday in the FA Trophy, we will be in a strong position.

“Being at home against a side at the wrong end of the table, it would look like we are big favourites but we are experienced enough to know it doesn’t work like that. They are fighting for their lives.

“We have started to show glimpses of what we are capable of and tomorrow is a chance to do that in front of our own fans.

“We have to put pressure on the teams around us and win as many games as possible. Offensively and defensively we are getting back to where we were last season.

“It’s no coincidence that we have started to show better form now we finally have a fully fit squad. We took 19 players to Eastbourne and we will again be in a position of having to leave players out tomorrow.”

Josh Wilson was unable to train earlier this week because of a knee problem, but Challinor described it as a niggle which shouldn’t keep the midfielder out of the squad.

By contrast, Worcester find themselves too close to the relegation-zone for comfort. They have plenty of experience, including Deon Burton and Lee Hughes, the former West Brom striker, who had a brief spell at Blackpool.

Worcester’s strikeforce was recently augmented by the signing of striker Amadou Bakayoko, on loan from League One club Walsall.

He has made 15 first-team appearances for the Saddlers and also had spells on loan at Southport and AFC Telford.

Challinor indicated that some members could go out on loan shortly to gain important game-time and stay match-fit.