Plastic pitch holds no fears for AFC Fytde

Lewis Montrose
Lewis Montrose
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AFC Fylde will be boosted by the return from suspension of Lewis Montrose and Andy Bond for the trip to Sutton United and a Vanarama National League clash on the artificial surface at Gander Green Lane

Not that manager Dave Challinor and his squad are at all fazed by the prospect of playing on a ‘plastic’ pitch, having trained on such a surface in the run-up to Saturday’s encounter.

He told The Gazette: “OK, they can be unpredictable. They can vary whether it is dry or wet or even if it is sunny.

“But it should suit us as we are a team that like to get the ball down and play.

“We can’t allow ourselves to worry about playing on a 3G pitch. We just have to concentrate on playing our natural game.”

Sutton have been up among the promotion chasers so far, though if they did achieve the goal of promotion to the Football League they would have to rip up the pitch as only grass is allowed in the higher grade.

Sutton made the headlines with their FA Cup run last season, which saw them making an exit at the hands of Arsenal in a high-profile fifth-round clash.

Challinor said: “Sutton have made a lot of progress over the last few seasons and at one point this season they were at the top of our league after they started off really well.”

The Coasters go into the match in 19th place in the table. By contrast, Sutton are in fifth place but only two points behind the surprise leaders Macclesfield Town.

Fylde’s last trip to the south saw them come back from Leyton Orient with three points, following it up with a 0-0 draw in a dull match at home to Gateshead on Tuesday night.

Challinor said that he would gladly have settled for a haul of four points from two matches if offered that beforehand.

The Coasters’ boss added: “Having Montrose and Bond back will give us a stronger squad tomorrow.

“Sam Finley returned for us in the Gateshead match and nearly got a full 90 minutes back, which was longer than we expected.

“We will have to see how he is because he hadn’t really trained for three weeks beforehand. James Hardy got in 55 minutes against Gateshead and that will have done him the world of good.”