Dave Challinor tells AFC Fylde players to seize historic opportunity at Wembley - and training video

Dave Challinor has urged his AFC Fylde players to grasp their opportunity to become history makers for the football club.

Friday, 10th May 2019, 8:30 am
Dave Challinor (right) with AFC Fylde owner David Haythornthwaite at their press conference before departing for Wembley

SEE MORE: Part one of our AFC Fylde pre-Wembley media conference videoThe Coasters stand 90 minutes away from becoming a Football League club just 12 years after owner David Haythornwaite took the reins.

Fylde were then in the West Lancashire League, but should they overcome Salford City at Wembley tomorrow, they will shed their non-league status far sooner than anyone could have ever dreamt of.

In fact, Haythornwaite’s target of reaching the Football League by 2022 could be achieved three years ahead of schedule.

Dave Challinor (right) with AFC Fylde owner David Haythornthwaite at their press conference before departing for Wembley

Challinor, who has been in charge since 2011, has labelled tomorrow’s game the biggest clash in the club’s history.

“You come into a club and you always hope you will be successful. You have to believe in the ambition of David,” the Fylde boss said.

“Ultimately me coming here from a selfish perspective was me wanting to improve as a manager.

“We’ve gone from part-time, training two evenings a week, to full-time and I truly believed we’d move into a new stadium – which we have.

“Could you ever envisage it would be as amazing as it turned out to be? No. But it makes you prouder and prouder, if we can achieve what we hope to do, of the part you’ve played in it.

“It’s not something that scares us, it was our plan.

“At the time when I left to join Fylde, I had been managing Colwyn Bay for 18 months and it was a small club where staying in the Conference North was seen as a success.

“I think as a player sometimes you’ve got to challenge yourself, and while it was a step down at the time it was an opportunity to step further forward. At the time I felt there was no glass ceiling.

“We’re now getting closer and closer and closer to that glass ceiling but you always take a chance, but it’s made me a better manager and given me a better chance of progressing.

“The aim has always been in the Football League, whether that be here or elsewhere, but for it to be here would be fantastic.

“We’ve really worked hard to get into this position and it’s given us the opportunity to play the biggest game in the club’s history.”

Challinor is aware opportunities like this don’t come around every season, but given the club’s 2020 target he says it’s not the “be-all and end-all” if they fall short.

“It would be great to get promoted,” he added.

“When you come into this league you only have to look at the teams.

“Wrexham are in their 12th season. It took Luton maybe seven or eight years to get out of it. There have been a lot of big clubs in it.

“It’s a relentless league and it gets harder and harder every year, so you have to grasp opportunities.

“Fingers crossed we can take that opportunity on Saturday. If not, it’s not the be-all and end-all but we recognise it’s a big chance.”