AFC Fylde boss Challinor ready for another summer of big changes
AFC Fylde boss Dave Challinor is anticipating another summer of change at Mill Farm.
Currently, just seven players are under contract for next season and Challinor, who made wholesale changes following their 2016/17 National League North title-winning campaign, is expecting another busy summer of comings and goings.
“I think we will have quite a big turnaround of players, there are only seven that are contracted at the moment,” he told The Gazette.
“We’ve had recruitment meetings last week and we aim to sit down with the players early this week and go through the season and review it from their perspective, as well as ours.
“We will see, on both sides, which of them we will be looking to retain for next season.
“But ultimately you have to learn lessons and that’s the brutal and ruthless part of management.
“We had the same thing in the previous season when we won the league but still went on to make an awful lot of changes.
“It’s similar this year. Although we have done well, it’s my job to make sure we learn from our mistakes and make sure we’re in a better position to compete next year.
“This part of the season is massive in terms of getting in the sort of players we think can help us.
“I don’t think it’s any surprise good players are wanted by lots of clubs, so getting the right ones is massively important.
“If we can get the majority of our work done early, that probably leaves a bit of space to be a bit more patient for other positions.
“But there’s certainly positions that we really feel we need to strengthen pretty quickly.”
A play-off finish capped off an impressive first season in the National League for the Coasters, who will no doubt be aiming to go one better next season in their search for Football League football.
But Fylde’s valiant promotion bid ended in an agonising defeat in the first round of the play-offs to Boreham Wood, who went on to beaten by Tranmere Rovers in Saturday’s play-off final.
A nightmare opening 17 minutes proved costly for the Coasters as both Jamie Turley and Bruno Andrade headed home unchallenged. And although Simon Grand pulled one back on the half-hour, the all-important equaliser proved elusive.
Challinor admits it was a disappointing way to end the season and says there are lessons to be learned.
He added: “I think you have to learn from every experience, whether that be a win or a loss.
“I suppose it can work both ways in the fact the majority of people you speak to say we were the better team for 70 minutes.
“Unfortunately that first 20 minutes cost us the game and we got ourselves in a hole which we couldn’t get out of.
“You have to learn from that but it was a bit synonymous of our season if we’re being honest.
“We’ve conceded poor goals at the wrong time and ultimately that has come back to bite us.
“But I can’t fault the effort of our players, they’ve had a right go. But football can be a cruel game at times and if you don’t defend properly and don’t start the game properly then you can put yourself out of the game very early.
“Over the course of the 90 minutes we couldn’t get that two-goal deficit back.”
Fylde’s end-of-season celebrating evening will take place on Friday, May 18 in Churchill’s events and function suite at Mill Farm.
Tickets are priced at £55 or £400 for a table of eight. To book your place, call James Watts on 01772 598855.