Big-match experience can boost AFC Fylde in play-off clash with Harrogate Town says manager Dave Challinor

Dave Challinor is hoping his AFC Fylde players’ big-game experience will prove decisive in tomorrow's National League play-off clash against Harrogate Town at Mill Farm (7pm).

Tuesday, 30th April 2019, 5:22 pm
Updated Tuesday, 30th April 2019, 6:40 pm
Dave Challinor and AFC Fylde know all about pressure matches

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The fifth-placed Coasters host the Yorkshire outfit, who finished sixth, in the first round with a place in Saturday’s semi-final at Solihull Moors at stake.Challinor’s men have already passed a big test this season with flying colours when they overcame Stockport County over two legs in their FA Trophy semi-final.The Fylde boss believes that know-how could prove invaluable if his side are to win three games to reach the Football League.Challinor told The Gazette: “There’s a feeling of excitement and we’re all looking forward to the game.“It’s always a tough one when the players have been preparing for this for a while, so they just want it to come round as quickly as possible.“Hopefully we can put on a performance and progress.“In terms of pressure, it’s always hard to tell. The one advantage we might have is that we’ve already played some big games, whether that be this year with the semi-final of the FA Trophy to get us to Wembley, or whether you look back at the recent past to the FA Cup ties against Wigan and play-off games.“We’ve always had lads who have experience of those games, the atmosphere and the environment. That can help massively.“Players can freeze a little bit when it’s a new experience but we’ve got enough quality and experience to deal with the occasion. You just hope we can perform.”Fylde drew 0-0 at home to Harrogate during the regular season, while claiming a 2-1 win on the road.Challinor added: “I’d much rather play at home than away, that’s a given.“We’ve got a good home record. We’ve got to take advantage of that and go into the game full of confidence. “But if we were away home home I’d still be confident that we could win.“Both games in the league were tight affairs and I don’t think this will be any different. We know them really well and it’s two clubs that have had a similar path in terms of coming up into the league.“We’ve come up against Harrogate quite a lot and always had good battles with them. We met them in a play-off game a few years ago in the Northern Premier League, so we know each other really well.”