AFC Fylde's FA Youth Cup tie with Chelsea can help the club continue its growth
Conrad Prendergast believes AFC Fylde’s FA Youth Cup run will help the club to attract more young players.
The Coasters exited the competition at the fourth round stage on Good Friday, performing admirably in losing 2-0 to Chelsea.
Having seen off Morecambe, Sunderland and Cambridge United, Fylde were afforded a first team-type preparation with an overnight stay and a pre-match meal.
The youth team boss believes attention to detail can only be beneficial when trying to sell the club as an attractive proposition for players.
Prendergast said: “The experience of this preparation for Chelsea – coming down the day before, pre-match meal, staying over– some of those lads have not experienced that before and it was a real first-team feeling about it.
“We brought some of the first years in to experience that, who we feel are going to do well for us next year when we come into this competition again.
“The whole experience obviously helps us massively. We’re looking at players to bring in for our under-17s moving into next season.
“When we can go and show how well we’re doing as a team and as a football club, and the players that we’re producing, obviously it gives them more of an interest in coming to sign for us.
“The big thing as well is that some of the players who played Chelsea will go on to play for our first team and I think that will continue with the players we’re going to bring through from our first years and under-16s as well.”
Those first-team hopefuls did themselves proud at Kingsmeadow, where they were watched by club chairman David Haythornthwaite, manager Jim Bentley and chief executive Jonty Castle.
Aided by some spectacular stops from keeper Aaron Lancaster, the Fylde youngsters reached half-time with the game goalless.
However, second-half goals from Bryan Fiabema and Ben Elliott were enough to seal Chelsea’s progress.
After seeing his side exit the competition, Prendergast was quick to pay tribute to his players for their displays.
“In every game, we’ve had good individual performances,” he said.
“The most important thing is that the team performance has been there in every game.
“We’ve not really had to carry any of the players to try and get them through or have to make substitutions because lads weren’t performing.
“In every game, the lads have been consistent. Aaron, in terms of his performance, really good. The same in all the other games he’s played.
“As a team, we’ve been consistent throughout. Every single one of those lads has put in an eight or a nine (out of 10) every single game to get us where we are now.
“If they can continue to do that, I’m looking forward to preparing for the next one and getting back into some league fixtures.”
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