AFC Fylde manager Dave Challinor says the club has been boosted greatly by the return of his assistant Colin Woodthorpe to Mill Farm.
READ MORE: Fylde suffer defeat at Dagenham and Redbridge
The club announced on October 2 that Woodthorpe’s wife Karole had died after battling illness. The team wore black armbands for their draw at Chesterfield four days later.
Woodthorpe has been Challinor’s number two throughout a managerial career which began at Colwyn Bay in May 2010.
Moving on to Fylde 18 months later, they have been the club’s management team for the past seven years.
Both Liverpudlians, they were previously team-mates at Bury.
Now Woodthorpe is back at the National League club after compassionate leave, returning to training prior to last weekend’s 2-1 defeat at Dagenham and Redbridge.
Fylde have retained their play-off spot despite suffering back-to-back league defeats for the first time since February.
This Saturday they return to Mill Farm, where they lost 3-1 last time out to a Leyton Orient side who now top the table.
Fylde’s aim is to bounce back at home to Boreham Wood, who are seven points and four places below the Coasters in 10th.
And Challinor says Woodthorpe has been able to provide a fresh perspective on the squad after six weeks away.
Challinor said: “Col has been away from the club for a few weeks and was back in last week, and in those first two training sessions he saw that training was incredibly competitive.
“I think that sometimes you can really see what something is like when you have been away from it.
“I think that sometimes when the standard has been so high you can be guilty of thinking, ‘Oh that is what it is normally like’ without really watching it.
“People who have been watching from the outside and come back in can see what it is like.
“They can see we have competition are we are always striving to get better.”