AFC Fylde’s big plans and Collins’ massive chance

Dom Collins
Dom Collins

AFC Fylde manager Dave Challinor has re-iterated the club’s intention to go full-time if the objective of promotion to the National League is attained.

AFC Fylde manager Dave Challinor has re-iterated the club’s intention to go full-time if the objective of promotion to the National League is attained.

The Coasters’ determination to go along that road was one of the reasons the recent bid to sign Chorley midfielder Jake Cottrell stalled and the player decided to stay put with the Magpies.

According to Challinor, the prospect of eventually going full-time did not appeal to the Chorley player, Fylde having given his club seven days’ notice of their interest.

The AFC Fylde boss, speaking before tomorrow’s trip to take on strugglers AFC Telford United, said: “We are looking to go full-time once we achieve our ambitions. That has always been the plan and the way we have been thinking.

“That affects the way we are trying to recruit players and have them training every day.”

Meantime, Challinor’s men bid to get back on track in their promotion push from National League North when they travel to Telford, who are rock-bottom.

Fylde suffered a surprise 3-2 loss to Worcester on Saturday, when defender Josh Langley was sent off for violent conduct in the first half.

They were denied the chance to bounce back at home to Corby on Tuesday evening, when the fixtures was postponed because the Kellamargh Park pitch was waterlogged.

But that didn’t mean a night off for Challinor, who instead travelled to Telford to watch their match.

The Bucks lost at home to Hednesford 3-1 to add to their relegation worries.

Challinor said: “The last time I travelled to Telford to watch them, I got all the way there only for the game to be called off. Luckily it went ahead this time.

“Telford have a direct, physical approach that we will have to deal with.

“They led 1-0 at half-time against Hednesford and were good value for it.

“It was a big night for Telford - they had had some good results lately and a win could have taken them out of the bottom four.

“But when you start thinking about that, it brings a different kind of pressure on players.

“Hednesford scored and that showed how one goal can completely change a game.”

Fylde will be able to name from a full-strength squad. However, it is unlikely that midfielder Josh Wilson will come into consideration after his transfer-listing for disciplinary reasons.

Langley is available as his suspension does not kick in for a further week.

However, his three-match absence will mean an opportunity for someone else, quite possibly Dom Collins.

Despite featuring regularly in the early stages of the season, centre-back Collins has had to watch on from the sidelines in recent weeks following the return to fitness of Tom Hannigan to partner Langley.

And the 24-year-old Collins admits he has found his lack of involvement frustrating.

He said: “Any player will be disappointed when they have not even managed to make the bench, but we’ve got a strong squad and I know Tom and Josh are two very, very good centre-halves.

“I have had a bit of illness recently, so that has hindered me too. It’s frustrating but I think you’ve just got to show the best attitude you can and I’ve worked hard in training.

“Obviously Josh’s suspension will begin soon, so hopefully I get a chance to show what I can do.”

Langley was dismissed following an off-the-ball involving Worcester’s Jamie Smith.

Fylde were unhappy that Smith was unpunished and Collins has sympathy with his team-mate.

He added: “I think the lad provoked him in a way that made it difficult not to react. Sometimes in the heat of the moment you do things that you regret.

“It was a late tackle on Josh, who has had a bad injury this season. He’d broken his foot from a bad tackle, so I think that would have been playing on his mind as well.

“I know Josh is a good lad and he doesn’t really have that side in him. He’s a calm and collected player, but the linesman only saw one side and it went against Josh.”

Collins has never been sent off in his career. He said: “I’ve been lucky. I’ve been in similar situations but I’m quite a laid-back lad. I’ve never had a serious injury or had to react to a bad tackle or anything like that.”

He did, however, suffer a knock during his longest run in the team and he is eager to regain his place.

“I picked up a knock before the Harrogate game and that kind of set me back a bitm” he said. “I felt leading up to the Millwall game that I was playing at my best.

“After that little niggle, I got put back in for two games which we lost. Since then, Chall has selected Tom and Josh and we went on a little run ... that’s football.

“I think I could have given a lot more if I’d played more regularly, but I’ve got a lot more to show and hopefully in the next few weeks I can prove myself even more.”

Fylde face three away games in the next eight days, with Tuesday’s rearranged league derby at Chorley followed by the visit to Gateshead in the FA Trophy.

And Collins stressed the need to get back to winning ways as soon as possible.

“The next two games in the league are massive, so we have to make sure we get six points from them,” he said..

“We need to get the clean sheets back. We’ll always score because of the goalscorers we have.

Telford have extended the loan of goalkeeper Harry Burgoyne from Wolverhampton Wanderers for a further month.