AFC Fylde skipper Lewis Montrose is on course to make his first start since last season’s play-off exit in today’s FA Trophy clash with Stratford Town.
Dave Challinor’s Coasters host the Southern League Premier Division Central side at Mill Farm with Montrose set for his first start since May’s defeat against Boreham Wood.
The 30-year-old made his first apperance of the season as a substitute in the 2-1 defeat to Dover Athletic as he continues his return from a foot injury.
Challinor believes that although Montrose is still behind his team-mates in terms of fitness levels, today’s match is the perfect opportunity to get some minutes into his legs with a hectic festive fixture list ahead.
He said: “Timing-wise, it is great because we have been actively looking to get him a competitive game and this game comes at a good time.
“Hopefully we can get him 90 minutes or get him out there until he needs to come off.
“He is a little bit behind in terms of his fitness and stuff which you would expect but it is a good one to put him in.
“It will be great to have him back and hopefully it will put him closer to the game next week.”
Though Challinor is taking the competition seriously, he will also be using it as a chance to give some of his fringe players a runout so they are prepared if called upon over the festive period.
He said: “I think, when you look at in terms of looking at it at the start of the year, statistically it is probably the cup competition you have most chance of winning.
“Anything can happen, it gives clubs at our level the best chance to compete in a Wembley final.
“But that is a long way off and we are not going to let the competition hamper our league ambitions but we will approach every game on its merits.
“Timing-wise, we are in a good position in terms of bodies and injuries so we can use it as we want really.
“I suppose with an eye on the fact that we have five games in 14 days starting next Saturday we have got to make sure we have everyone fit, ready and capable of playing 90 minutes if required.
“There will be some lads that need games that will play undoubtedly, we have got one eye further ahead on that run of games over Christmas.
“We need players able to complete 90 minutes so we are not having to make subs because people are not at the right levels.
“Everyone that starts will think that they should be in our starting XI ; they have an opportunity and if they perform well then hopefully I will have decisions to make.”