New signing Zaine was best in our league says Fylde boss

Zaine Francis-Angol
Zaine Francis-Angol

Manager Dave Challinor believes that in Zaine Francis-Angol AFC Fylde have signed last season’s “stand-out” left-back and a player of Football League quality.

The 23-year-old will join the National League Coasters on a two-year deal, with the option of a third, once his contract at Kidderminster Harriers expires at the end of the month.

Francis-Angol becomes the second defender to leave Aggborough for Mill Farm this summer, following Jordan Tunnicliffe’s switch to the Fylde coast a fortnight ago.

Challinor has long been an admirer of his latest recruit and was delighted to get the deal done.

Challinor said of this summer’s third signing: “We had been looking at full-backs throughout the season because that’s an area we felt we could improve in.

“The two we signed at the start of the last season – Danny Holmes and Tom Kennedy – were very last-minute, and through the season we kept an eye on players in that area in case they became available.

“In my opinion, Zaine was the stand-out left-back in the league last season.

“Once we knew he was out of contract, it gave us an opportunity to try and do something.

“We have obviously sold what we are trying to do here very well because he could have probably made the jump straight up to the Football League. This is perhaps a stepping stone to progress his development and reach the League but there is also the opportunity for him to progress with us as a club too.

“I’m really looking forward to working with him. He is your modern full-back. He is good going forward but primarily he is very good defensively.

“He can play further forward and we will want him to play as an attacking full-back but defending is a massive part of his job.

“The majority of our strengthening will be in defensive areas and Zaine is a big part of that.”

Francis-Angol and fellow newcomer Tunnicliffe are both in the select group of players taking part in the V9 Academy, a scheme to discover the best non-league talent championed by England striker Jamie Vardy.

Challinor believes their week with the academy at Manchester City’s training complex an only benefit his new recruits.

He added: “A lot of players at this level have ambitions of playing in the Football League and our players are no different. Not many players will be content with being part-time, so this is a great opportunity for them.

“It is good for our two lads because I have been to Manchester City and I know what the facilities there are like. They are amazing.

“They will have a great week and get an insight into what facilities are like at the very top level because they are second to none at City.”