Challinor: AFC Fylde in stronger place than 12 months ago
Manager Dave Challinor believes AFC Fylde have 'improved in almost every way' since the same stage last season as he looks forward to returning to action at Dagenham and Redbridge next Saturday.
The Coasters went into their two-week break sixth in the National League, with 35 points from 19 games.Reflecting on the difference 12 months makes, Challinor told The Gazette: “We started this season really well. You can only really compare it to last year and we are ahead of where we were at this stage.“Last season we had good run around Christmas and New Year which got us around the play-off positons. This year we are in the play-offs already and hopefully we can stay there.“At the start of the season, if we’d been told we would reach mid-November with only two defeats, and those against two of the clubs most people would have picked to be up there, we’d have taken that.“There’s a lot of potential improvement in us and with the attitude of the lads in training they deserve to be where they are.”Fylde’s last match brought only their second league defeat of the season, 3-1 at home to second-placed Leyton Orient.Asked if their fixture-free fortnight was ill-timed for Fylde on the back of that loss, Challinor added: “It is what it is. If you went into it off a poor performance you wouldn’t want the break but for 25 minutes against Leyton Orient we played as well as we have all season. “We were unfortunate and got on wrong end of a poor refereeing decision (Fylde felt there was a foul in the run-up to the Orient opener) .“If the break was on the back of a poor performance it would have been a long couple of weeks but there were positives in the defeat. “And potentially we can get people back again after injury,” he added, with defender Danny Kane expected back in training this week. There were no games in the National League over the weekend due to the FA Cup first round.
Challinor attended a fans’ forum at Mill Farm on Saturday, when chairman Haythornthwaite confirmed a new North Stand would be built as an all-standing home end. The Coasters owner said: “The new North Stand will be bigger than the South and will be standing. Everything will be in place to ensure we are ready for the Football League.”