AFC Fylde manager Dave Challinor is looking forward to a step up in intensity when they face Rochdale on Saturday after romping to a 5-0 victory in their first pre-season friendly at Marine.
AFC Fylde manager Dave Challinor was delighted to see his squad come through Tuesday’s match on Merseyside unscathed as they build towards their first-ever season in the National League.
Dale descend on Mill Farm on Saturday and Challinor said: “We will train for the rest of the week and look forward to what will be a much tougher test against Rochdale on Saturday.
“Rochdale will be a much clearer marker of where we are up to. The lads will step up in terms of playing time as we try and get 60 minutes in the lads’ legs.”
Last season’s phenomenal 50-goal striker Danny Rowe continued where he had left off with two early strikes in Crosby, where goals by Sam Finley, Henry Jones and a triallist sealed a convincing win over the Northern Premier League club.
Jones was one of six new signings having their first Fylde run-out as Challinor changed virtually his entire team for the second half at Marine, fielding 21 players in all,
The Fylde boss was pleased with the performance but admitted his focus was primarily on fitness.
Challinor said: “It was more about minutes for players than anything else. It was a first 45 for most of the lads and we just wanted to get through without any injuries.
“Of course we wanted to win but it’s about bedding in our principles with the new lads, and even when the game was won it’s still about fitness.
“In normal circumstances you would try and conserve energy but I wanted us to play at a high tempo throughout.
“I knew we would be quite sharp because the lads have come back in decent shape. It was a good workout on a really good pitch and we showed some promising signs.
“Ultimately we are building towards August 5 (the opening National League game at home to Boreham Wood) and there will be plenty more to come from us.”
As for the six new recruits on show, the manager added: “The new signings did well and we were looking for different things from each of them. Henry Jones’ goal stands out and it was a great start for him.
“The two new lads in the full-back positions (Josh Ezewele and Zaine Francis-Angol) did really well in the first half.
“We knew what Lewis (Montrose) would give us. He gives us a shield in there in front of the back four.
“Jack (Muldoon) was lively and was unlucky not to get a goal. They all did really well and most importantly they got through with no niggles.”
The only new signing absent at Marine was goalkeeper Jay Lynch, while midfielder James Hardy was another notable absentee, though Challinor is hopeful both will be able to play their part on Saturday.
“Jay picked up a shoulder knock earlier in the week but he will be fine to train (for the rest of the week). It just wasn’t worth risking him on Tuesday.
“James is a little bit behind the rest of the group after missing the end of the season and some of pre-season, plus he was ill for the game.
“He has missed a lot of football but he isn’t injured now. He just has some catching up to do. Hopefully he will get a few minutes on Saturday but we have to manage him carefully.”