AFC Fylde boss Jim Bentley breaks new ground with cup-tie on artificial pitch

AFC Fylde have prepared to play on a synthetic surface at Dorking
AFC Fylde have prepared to play on a synthetic surface at Dorking

There will be a first for Jim Bentley tomorrow as his AFC Fylde side travel to Dorking Wanderers in the third round of the FA Trophy .

READ MORE: Bentley hopes Trophy defence can transform league campaign
The Surrey club, who play in National League South, play their games on an artificial pitch and the last-16 tie will be Coasters boss Bentley’s first experience of such a surface.

With Fylde playing in the league above, their manager is well aware that the Wanderers will be going into the game without any pressure.

Bentley said: “They did fantastically well in the last round against Stockport County and they won in the league on Tuesday (against Hungerford), so they’re in okay form.

“I think it’s the first time I’ve taken a team to play on a 3G pitch, so that will go in Dorking’s favour because they’re used to it.

“There’s no pressure on them. They’ve done well to get this far, so they’ve got a lot of things stacked in their favour.

“But we’re the bigger club, we’re the holders of the Trophy and we know that we’re more than capable of winning the game.

“We’ll give them the respect they deserve, as we do every weekend.

“We’ll do what we need to do in preparation and we’ll go in to get ourselves into the hat for the quarter-finals.”

Fylde usually train at their old Kellamergh Park home but have taken the opportunity to practise on the artificial pitch at the nearby Fylde Sports and Education Centre.

“It’s just about getting into the players what we need”, added Bentley. “We’ve been doing quite a bit on there with the rain we’ve been getting.

“We’ve done quite a lot on the artificial pitch during the last two or three weeks.”

Town’s only wins since November have come in this competition and Bentley wants to grasp another before resuming their relegation battle at Eastleigh next Tuesday.

He added: “It’s a one-off game, with no replay, so let’s get the job done down there.

“Whatever happens in a league game you always move on to the next one, but in a cup competition it’s all or nothing. Hopefully it’s all for us on Saturday.

“We know we’re higher up the pyramid than they are and we’re the holders, but we also know they will be going all out.

“It’s a big game for both clubs for different reasons, the biggest reason being to get into the next round.

“They’re doing okay this season (in sixth position) and we’re a club that has struggled (currently third-bottom).

“We are the holders and they will want another scalp after Stockport, so it’s a big game for us.

“These are the games you want to be involved in. It’s an opportunity because we’re only a few ties away from going back to Wmebley.

“Some players aren’t blessed to play at Wembley in their whole careers, so it would be nice for this club to do it for the third time in a matter of 12 months.”

Fylde have recalled Sheldon Green from his loan spell at Bamber Bridge and named the teenager in their squad for tomorrow’s tie.

Tom Walker is cup-tied and manager Jim Bentley said: “With a couple of injuries and a bit of illness, the decision was taken to bring back Sheldon, who’s been doing well at Bamber Bridge.”