AFC Fylde full-back Stephen Crainey admits Saturday’s Play-off final defeat at North Ferriby United was particularly tough to take – but he wants to come back for more next season.
Fylde suffered a second successive play-off heartbreak when an extra-time goal from Danny Hone saw the Coasters again miss out on promotion to the National League.
“We are really disappointed,” said former Blackpool ace Crainey, who won promotion to the Premier League with the Tangerines via the play-offs six years ago. “I’m not sure it’s quite sunk in yet. Our main aim was to get promoted and it’s not happened.
“I feel really dejected, but sometimes you need this kind of feeling to move forward and hopefully that can happen next season.
“However we missed out would have been disappointing, but to get so close and not finish the job hurts a lot.
“The dressing room was very quiet after the game and no one really knew what to say.
“I think it hit us all hard and I’d be disappointed if the lads weren’t dejected. It’s now about how we bounce back.
“It may be harsh but that opportunity has gone now. We have to look forward and try to stay as positive as we can.
“We have a good squad of players but obviously the manager will chop and change to try and improve the squad.
“It is a great club and we are certainly going in the right direction. I’ve really enjoyed being part of it and we will see what happens next season.”
Former Scotland international Crainey will turn 35 next month but insists he still has plenty left in the tank and is keen to extend his stay with the Coasters.
“I’ll be speaking to the manager soon I’m sure but I still feel fit, so now it’s down to him because I’d love to stay.
“ I have been playing catch- up all year after missing pre-season, so if I can get one in this time around I think that will really help.
“I definitely think I still have something to offer the squad, both on and off the field. I’ve felt fine in the games I’ve played, but with the added bonus of a pre-season I think I’ll be more than ready for next term.”
Crainey knows it’s a big summer for the club on and off the field. “I think the move to Mill Farm will give everybody a lift. It’s a tough league and we need to try to get off to a good start, which I’m sure the manager will look to do.
“The teams that are joining us for the new campaign will be aiming to stamp their authority on the league as well as the teams that just missed out on promotion this time.
“We want to get promoted, however that comes about. If that means going up automatically, then great; if it’s play-offs, then so be it. We just want to get there. Hopefully we can have another good go at it next time around.”