AFC Fylde manager Dave Challinor has called on his players to treat today’s crucial clash against rivals Eastleigh as a play-off decider.
The Coasters welcome the league’s in-form side to Mill Farm this afternoon looking to get back to winning ways after going on a run of three games without a victory.
Eastleigh sit two spots and just two points behind Challinor’s men who are fifth in the table with just six games of the season remaining.
This afternoon’s clash could go a long way to deciding who finishes in the top seven and Challinor says his players must adopt the right attitude if they’re to pick up a crucial three points.
“Eastleigh are two places behind us and we’ve got to try and create space between us and them by trying to win,” the Fylde boss told The Gazette.
“It’s one of those games where yes, it’s three points for us, but it’s also three points that a side who are close to us don’t get.
“They’ve had a great run, they really have. Andy (Hessenthaler) left and Ben (Strevens) took over and he really steadied the ship.
“It’s always been widely talked about that they have a good budget and pay players a lot of money and they’ve probably under-achieved based on that.
“But what Ben has done since he’s been there is take them on a fantastic run. If you look at the form book over the last 15 or 20 games, I’d expect them to be right at the top.
“They’ve never been in trouble relegation-wise but they’ve gone from being a team that huffed and puffed to one that is now consistent and have put themselves in a great position.
“We know it will be a really tough game and we almost have to treat it as a play-off game, which hopefully we’ll do.”
Fylde go into the game on the back of a disappointing 1-1 draw against Dagenham and Redbridge on Tuesday.
While Challinor was disappointed with his side’s performance, he was satisfied to see another point added to the points tally.
“We see every game as an opportunity so when you don’t pick up three points it’s always an opportunity missed,” he said.
“We didn’t perform at our best and when you don’t do that, you’ve got to acknowledge you’ve missed a chance to get three points.
“We’ve not lost the game, we’ve still managed to get something from it which is always a plus but we want to try and win every game.”
Fylde are back in action in midweek, when they make the trip to the North East to take on fellow play-off hopefuls Gateshead, who are currently ninth.