AFC Fylde boss Jim Bentley puts pitch issues aside ahead of FA Trophy tie with Southport

AFC Fylde manager Jim Bentley
AFC Fylde manager Jim Bentley

Jim Bentley has labelled the goings-on at Mill Farm over the last few days as ‘madness.’

AFC Fylde released a statement during the week regarding the drainage system on their first team pitch.

A brick had been found wrapped in a towel in one of the drainage pipes, clogging it up and preventing the water from escaping.

That meant the pitch deteriorated over the heavy Christmas schedule and Bentley said that has made passing football more challenging for the Coasters.

The manager said: “It was just a mad thing, the chairman (David Haythornthwaite) told me about it and then I saw all the stuff online about it. Madness.

“The pitch hasn’t been great, it’s worse when you actually get on it.

“We want to try and play football but it’s becoming difficult to do that.

“Now we’ve found the reason, hopefully it will improve.

“But it’s a hindrance, not a great thing to happen.

“I’ve encountered certain things at clubs when I’ve been involved in new builds, at Morecambe and Telford, so I’ve seen certain things over time but I’ve never seen anything in that regard with someone trying to throw a spanner in the works – or a brick as it is here.”

The off-field events could have served as a distraction for Fylde, who host Southport in the FA Trophy this afternoon in their first game since last weekend’s FA Cup trip to Sheffield United.

Bentley is well aware of the dangers they pose, having encountered several Southport players in the past and knowing manager Liam Watson.

He does not want the National League North side taken for granted.

Bentley said: “I went to watch them in the last round against South Shields, I thought they were good.

“They’re not in the best of form right now but they’re a dangerous outfit and quite a powerful side.

“They have the long throw, their set-plays are good. I know the manager really well, I was speaking to him the other day, and I know a few of their players.

“There are players in their ranks that are capable on any given day.

“It’s going to be a tough game for us, like every game is.

“We’ve got to make sure to back ourselves, at home, to get into the next round.

“It just shows what can happen in football. One minute you’re at Premier League opposition, and the next, you’re against a team in the league below you at home. “That’s why we all love the game, all the different challenges that throw themselves up.”