AFC Fylde boss Dave Challinor hints at possible return of Arlen Birch as he closes in on keepers

Arlen Birch played for Fylde this week despite being released at the end of last season Picture: STEVE MCLELLAN
Arlen Birch played for Fylde this week despite being released at the end of last season Picture: STEVE MCLELLAN

Dave Challinor has revealed there’s a chance Arlen Birch could earn himself a new deal at AFC Fylde despite being released at the end of last season.

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The 22-year-old defender was not retained after his Coasters contract expired but is yet to find himself a new club.

He has been training with his former team-mates to maintain his fitness and even made an appearance off the bench in Tuesday’s 2-0 defeat to Blackpool.

While Birch is still actively looking for a new club, Challinor said he can’t rule out Birch earning himself a fresh deal at Mill Farm.

The Fylde boss told The Gazette: “I said to all the lads we let go that I will try to help them out because they were great for us last year.

“Arlen’s been to a few clubs and one deal fell through. He’s been at Cheltenham training but he texted me and asked if I knew anyone who was looking for a right-back.

“I told him I’d make some enquiries and throw his name about because I haven’t got a bad word to say about him.

“But in the meantime, I told him that if he wanted to train with us he’s more than welcome to because he’s one of the lads who is never going to change.

“We obviously have an opportunity through pre-season to get him some minutes, so he will continue to train with us for as long as he wants.

“I suppose, like all the other triallists we’ve got in, if you’re under our nose and in our eyes you have the opportunity to earn something and we’ll see how things go.”

Fylde’s search for a new goalkeeper is ongoing, with Challinor confident of bringing one in by the weekend.

While a deal remains on the table for Jay Lynch, that will be removed should a new first-choice keeper be signed.

“One fell through on Monday. We thought we had him,” Challinor revealed.

“That was a loan but it broke down over clauses. We have an opportunity for that to change but we have other options.

“We’ll definitely have at least one in by the weekend, whether that be a loan or a permanent I’m not too sure yet.

“It’s about getting the right one, not just jumping into things, although ideally we’d like to get someone by Saturday – two weeks before the start of the new season.

“We’ve just got one triallist keeper in at the moment and Dan (Lavercombe) has done well in the games that we’ve had.

“Potentially we’ll offer him something but if we’re being honest we probably see him as a number two to compete with a first-choice.

“It’s important we get that first-choice nailed down and allow him to come in and work with the players we’ve already got.”