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Chilly challenge for AFC Fylde boss Challi

Dave Challinor
Dave Challinor
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He has a wealth of footballing experience but AFC Fylde boss Dave Challinor cannot remember the last time snow impacted the football schedule in March.

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Challinor’s squad were awaiting the outcome of a pitch inspection at Torquay this morning before setting off on their mammoth 600-mile round trip, half of tomorrow’s scheduled games in the National League having been called off already.

And Challinor, who had a rich playing career with Tranmere, Stockport and Bury before steering Fylde to the top tier of non-league, said of this belated battle with the winter chill: “It just shows how unpredictable this country is!

“People always talk about winter breaks but to have this weather at the start of March is crazy!

“The winter has been pretty horrific in terms of the amount of rain there has been but everyone thought we had got off without the ice. But now we have the freeze and snow and it is country-wide.

“Normally it would just be certain areas but this weekend the weather will be a pretty bad for everyone.

“If the game had been here, we’d have got the covers on and it would probably be on, but only 10-15 minutes down the road you have inches of snow. It just depends where you are.

“If you look at the forecast (for Devon), then it looks pretty doubtful.”

Challinor says the weather has not impacted on training this week and he wants the game on.

He said: “It hasn’t really affected our training. We have been pretty lucky because the 3G was fine by the time we trained.

“Although it has been cold, with a pretty horrible wind, we have been less affected than the majority by the weather.

“Of course we want the game on. We’ve done our work on Torquay and what they might do.

“You prepare the players and Saturday afternoon is what you do it for. Your week’s training is all leading up to that game.

“Ideally we want to play but it looks like there will not be a lot of football played this weekend.

“It wouldn’t be ideal to travel to Torquay for a rearranged game on a Tuesday but it is what it is.

“We are more fortunate now we are full-time, and if we need to travel down on a Monday and stay over that is a viable option. We will cross that bridge...”

And if Fylde do embark on a trip to relegation-threatened Torquay, Challinor will be taking a fully fit squad as they aim to hold on to their play-off spot.

The manager admits that competition for places gives him some tough decisions to make as they look to build ont their 3-1 home win over Dover last weekend.

He said: “We are full- strength. We have competition for places for the 11 but also for the 16.

“You’ve got to pick a squad based on trying to win a single game. We’ve said to the lads before it is not personal (if they are left out) – it is about the team and for the benefit of the team. Sometimes we get it right and sometimes we get it wrong.

“Everyone is an important member of the squad and we have got to this situation where everyone is back fit and everyone is fighting.

“All we ask is that they all do their best. And regardless of who plays, they want their mates who are in the side to do well. That is where we are and everyone understands.”

AFC Fylde midfielder James Hardy has been called up by England C for their friendly international against Wales C at Barry on March 20.

The 21-year-old, who set up both goals in England’s win over Estonia 16 months ago, is included in a squad of 16 for the game at Jenner Park, with Coasters defender Jordan Tunnicliffe named in the contingency squad.