Blackpool's Kurt Willoughby out to continue his rise at AFC Fylde

Kurt Willoughby's journey up the non-league pyramid began at AFC Blackpool
Kurt Willoughby's journey up the non-league pyramid began at AFC Blackpool

Blackpool’s Kurt Willoughby can look back on the best season of his career and hopes to do even better with AFC Fylde.

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The 21-year-old striker recently returned from England C duty in Estonia and is looking forward to linking up with his new team-mates for pre-season training.

Signed at the start of this month after a successful season at FC United of Manchester, Willoughby looks forward to continuing his rise up the non-league ranks.

He said: “It was an easy decision. I’m a local lad from Blackpool and this club is on my doorstep. It’s one of the biggest clubs in non-league now and well-established.

“I’ve just had my best season because it was a jump of two leagues. Some people questioned if I could do it and I proved quite a few wrong.

“I was one of the top goalscorers in the league (Evo-Stik premier) and was called up for England C, which I’m proud of.

“I have three caps now and they have all been good, different experiences. We recently flew to Estonia to play them and I really enjoyed it. Hopefully there will be more to come. “

It continues a remarkable rise from Fylde coast Sunday football for Willoughby, who said: “I was picked up by Preston North End at 14 or 15. I moved to Fleetwood and did my scholarship there but didn’t stay after the two years.

“I fell into non-league and found my feet at AFC Blackpool, where I got used to a tough men’s league and worked my way back up.

“I then had two years at Clitheroe, where I scored goals and did quite well, then I moved to FC United last season and that has got me here.”

As for the qualities he hopes to bring to the Mill Farm set-up, Willoughby explained: “ I like to think I’m first and foremost a goalscorer . That’s what I like doing and hopefully I’ll carry that on.

“I’m hardworking and like to run in behind. I don’t mind the ball to feet as I’m not the tallest, so I like to think I’m sharp and make good runs.

“There are a lot of good players here, especially Danny Rowe. His scoring record is really impressive, so he’s doing something right.

“To see him in training and play with him in matches can only benefit me and I’m looking forward to it.”