AFC Fylde boss Jim Bentley reveals 'structured plan' to help players through long close season

Jim Bentley and his staff has devised “a structured plan” to help keep the AFC Fylde squad in the best physical and mental condition possible through a long close season.

Friday, 23rd April 2021, 8:00 am

Jim Bentley and his staff has devised “a structured plan” to help keep the AFC Fylde squad in the best physical and mental condition possible through a long close season.

Their National League North campaign was terminated in February but Fylde continued to train as normal until mid-March in hope that clubs who wished to play on would be allowed to form a new competition.

When these proposals were rejected by the FA, Fylde were not prepared to send a squad of disappointed professionals away for more than three months until the start of pre-season training.

Jim Bentley says it is vital to get the balance right for his Fylde squad in the two month before pre-season begins

Instead the Coasters resumed light training last week and have drawn up a plan which Bentley believes “gets the balance right” for all players until pre-season begins in two months’ time.

The Coasters manager told The Gazette: “We have a structured plan. We couldn’t just send the players away until the end of June, but at the same time you can’t keep players in full training right through.

“It’s very difficult for players to train all week with nothing at the end of it.

“You have to consider that we are a professional club who look forward to a game on a Saturday.

“That has been my life ever since leaving school at 16. Now I’m watching my boys play on a Saturday or Sunday and I’m finding that very hard.

“We have missed so many Saturdays in the last year or so. It’s hard to take but all we can do is put the best plans in place for the players.”

Those plans involve each player reporting in for training three days a week for five weeks, which also allows all squad members a few weeks off before the start of pre-season training on June 21.

Bentley explained: “We aren’t bringing people in every day. It’s about having people in on a part-time basis to keep them ticking over. We’re doing everything we can to help the players physically and mentally.”

Speaking to the club website, the Coasters boss added: “We felt we had a duty of care to look after our players from a psychological perspective, looking after their mental state and keeping them engaged after a really tough end to the season.

“They are all desperate to play football and love coming in to train. We were conscious that if we take that away from them it can have negative effects.

“We have carefully devised a programme that we feel gives the players the right balance of football and downtime between now and the start of pre-season.”