AFC Fylde close in on a new loan signing

AFC Fylde's Lewis Montrose      Picture: Steve McLellan
AFC Fylde's Lewis Montrose Picture: Steve McLellan
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AFC Fylde are close to sealing a deal for a loan player to replace the recently departed Joe Cardle.

The club announced last week that their 31-year-old summer signing had left by mutual agreement to reunite with his family in Scotland, where he played for the previous decade.

Cardle has been a major part of Dave Challinor’s plans this season, featuring in all but two of the Coasters’ 19 National League games this season and scoring twice.

Challinor had initially hoped a replacement would have been signed ahead of this weekend’s game at Dagenham and Redbridge, but the Fylde boss says that now looks unlikely.

“We are making progress, although I don’t think it will be done for the weekend,” he told The Gazette.

“We’ve potentially got a loan option for us, which is one we looked at three or four weeks back but hadn’t materialised because of what has happened with the club he’s at.

“Without going into too much detail, there’s been things going on at the club the lad is at over the last week or so, so they just wanted to leave it a couple of days while things are sorted out at their side.

“Hopefully it will be something that happens just after the weekend, but it gives us the chance to get another body in.

“If it means us waiting a few more days and the player not being available for us this weekend but getting the right one in, I’d much rather that than jumping onto a different target and things evolving.

“So fingers crossed something happens after the weekend.”

Fylde return to action this weekend after a two-week break from their last game, a 3-1 defeat to Leyton Orient.

Their weekend off, handed to them after their failure to qualify for the first round proper of the FA Cup, has allowed a number of players to get closer to full fitness.

“We’ve made it as normal as possible in terms of what we’ve done,” Challinor added.

“Yes we had a weekend off, but what we didn’t want to do was offload the lads because they’ve been putting positive performances in and we’re in a good place.

“So we didn’t want to take too much work off them to then go and hit it back on them the following week. So we had as normal a week as possible.

“We did a practice game amongst ourselves on the Friday for the lads that needed the minutes, which was good.

“Then we had the weekend off, since then we’ve been back at it with the focus all on the game at Dagenham on the weekend.

“What it has done is bring people closer to the squad. There’s positive news with Lewis Montrose – he’s back at full body weight and he’s started to do some work on the grass.

“It’s a slow process with him but he’s the closest he’s been all season to being back out there on the pitch, which is a massive bonus.

“Danny Williams has trained in the last couple of weeks, so with us not having a game that’s brought him back into contention and back into the squad.

“Rather than bringing a lot of players back, it’s certainly brought a lot of them closer.

“But in the main we’re in a good place. There’s only really James Hardy that has a slight issue and Danny Kane who has an ankle problem.

“But aside from those two, the rest of the squad is fit and has been training.

“Zaine (Francis-Angol) is away on international duty but everyone else is available for selection.”