AFC Fylde face a fight with fatigue

Dave Challinor says his AFC Fylde players have got to get the tiredness out of their system quickly in order to consolidate their spot in the National League play-offs.

Friday, 13th April 2018, 11:00 am
AFC Fylde won at Torquay United on Tuesday evening Picture: Steve McLellan

The Coasters returned to Mill Farm at 4.30am on Wednesday after their vital 3-1 win at Torquay United on Tuesday night.

But there is no rest for Challinor’s men, who face another long journey to face Maidstone United this weekend.

“It’s taken a lot out of everyone because we only got back to the ground at 4.30am,” Challinor said.

“It made Wednesday a bit of a tough day but we need to get that out of our system swiftly to focus on another long trip on Saturday.

“We’ll travel down there with added motivation after picking up another really good result which means we find ourselves in the highest position we’ve been all season.

“So there’s lots of motivation for a game which will present us with a different challenge.”

Fylde, who have won their last four games, are now fourth in the table, four points clear of Dover Athletic in eighth.

But a number of teams around them in the league table have games in hand to play, meaning there is everything still to play for in their final three games of the season.

“The target is to finish in the play-offs,” Challinor added. “Obviously we’d love to finish as high as possible but realistically, if we finish seventh I’ll take it.

“What you can’t do is allow expectancy to become entitlement and think you’re in there. Football has a very sneaky habit of kicking you when you’re at the top.

“You only need to look at the games over the past couple of nights in the Champions League.

“We know where we’re at, we’re in a really good position. But ultimately the aim still remains to get in there and to give ourselves a chance.

“We’ve given ourselves a really good chance with the wins we’ve picked up recently, but our only focus now is on Saturday.

“It’s a good time of the season to pick up four consecutive runs – it’s a really good run.

“We’ve shown different characteristics, we’ve had some really good away performances that have propelled us up.

“Teams around the top are playing each other, so we know if we can take care of our stuff there might be some surprise results elsewhere.”

The Coasters face a Maidstone side this weekend who are down in 19th, just three points clear of the bottom four.

While they have struggled recently, Challinor still expects a difficult game.

“It’s a different challenge in the fact it’s on a 3G surface, so we expect a really tough game,” he said.

“They’ve been dragged into it a bit, not into a relegation scrap, but they’ve been pulled down onto the brink of it all and probably need a few more points.

“It will probably be a bit unpredictable in terms of what system they play, they’ve had a go at everything in their last couple of games.

“So we’ve just got to focus on us.

“As a surface it should suit us because we want to try and get it down and play. But ultimately at this stage of the season it’s about finding a way.

“If that’s being very expansive and scoring lots of goals, then great, we know we can do that. But if it means being gritty and determined to grind results out, we need to be able to do that too.

“They started the season well and were near the play-offs, but have dropped away.”

In the North West Counties Premier Division, Squires Gate travel to face Ashton Athletic on Saturday.

AFC Blackpool host Sandbach United in Division One.