AFC Fylde chairman David Haythornthwaite claims the pressure is on Salford City to win their promotion play-off final

AFC Fylde's chairman David Haythornthwaite
AFC Fylde's chairman David Haythornthwaite
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AFC Fylde chairman David Haythornthwaite believes the pressure is on Salford City going into this afternoon’s National League play-off final.

The two teams meet at Wembley knowing victory will see them in League Two next season.

However, Haythornthwaite believes Salford boss Graham Alexander will be under the microscope should the Ammies fail to win promotion today.

He has history in the play-offs, having taken Fleetwood Town into League One in 2014 before going on to manage Scunthorpe United and then joining Salford last summer.

Haythornthwaite claimed: “I think that the person under huge pressure is Graham Alexander.

“He lost his job at Fleetwood, he was fired at Scunthorpe, he has a lifeline going down two leagues to Salford City.

“I’m not taking anything away from him but the money he has had, he will have to perform.

“If Salford do not win that game then I really doubt he will remain as manager. That is a lot of pressure.

“Salford are desperate to get out, we are not desperate to get out.”

Having taken over the club in 2007, Haythornthwaite mapped out a 15-year plan to steer his team to the Football League.

They could potentially get there three years ahead of schedule but, in keeping with his philosophy of building for the future, the pet food business gaint admits he is not desperate to get there immediately.

Nevertheless, it does not mean the Coasters will not be battling to get there at Wembley on Saturday.

“I’d love to go up on Saturday but it is not the end of the world if we do not,” Haythornthwaite said.

“Dave Challinor (manager) knows that, Jamie Roberts (CEO) knows that.

“We are building something here on a solid foundation, not built on ‘we have got to go up.’

“We have a plan, we are sticking to that plan.

“The fact we are ahead of it is great but we have not done anything yet, not until Saturday.”

The Coasters’ progression through the footballing pyramid has seen them, on occasions, labelled as big spenders.

However, the chairman feels that tag cannot be thrown at them anymore and insists they are exceeding expectations by reaching this stage.

He said: “We’ve always been a club that has been labelled as a moneybags team and I think that accusation certainly held true until last year when we got in the National League.

“In theory, if you’ve got a good manager and you’ve got the money, then you should go through the leagues.

“It’s the lower leagues that are relatively easy to get through, although they’re not all easy and there’s no easy league.

“You see how long it took Stockport County to get out of the National League North.

“In terms of money now, I worked out the other day we’re probably about 11th in the league – so we’re punching above our weight going to Wembley.

“Salford have at least three times our budget, at least.

“They’ve got a squad that is probably 10 players bigger than ours, so I think we’ve done amazing to get there.

“We’ve got a great bunch of players and a great manager, and if we go out and perform, we will win that game.”