Challinor challenges Fylde to get back on track

Stephen Crainey
Stephen Crainey
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AFC Fylde manager Dave Challinor is banking on his players putting him in a much happier frame of mind when they entertain promotion rivals Solihull Moors tomorrow.

Challinor was left seething after the 4-4 draw with Skelmersdale in the FA Trophy on Tuesday, when his side squandered a 3-0 lead.

And an improved performance would be timely, with the fight for supremacy at the top of National League North hotting up.

Challinor said of the Skelmersdale draw: “I am not a very good loser but that is the most annoyed I have been after a game that we haven’t lost.

“We were excellent in the first 20 minutes and should have finished the match off there and then, but we gave Skelmersdale too much encouragement.

“We got sloppy and let them back into the game.”

Solihull go into tomorrow’s match in fourth place, three points behind second-placed Fylde, and Challinor knows what to expect from a side that set the early pace in in Vanarama National North.

He said: “Solihull are a big, physical side. They will play in a direct way and they can also mix it up.

“We have to be aware of what we do at set-pieces and certainly do better than we did against Skelmersdale on Tuesday.”

Challinor has a number of selection issues to address before finalising his side for the visit of Solihull.

There has been some sickness in the Fylde camp, one of the victims of the stomach bug being ex-Seasider Stephen Crainey, who missed the Skelmersdale match.

Another midweek absentee – for an entirely different reason – was Brad Barnes, who was understandably given the evening off after his partner gave birth.

Two other Fylde players had to leave the field against Skem.

Matty Hughes sustained a knee injury, while Sam Finley suffered a hamstring strain.

Challinor is hoping both will be OK to be considered for the Solihull match, along with Barnes.

The season has reached an important stage, with the usual hectic schedule of festive matches, intensified by next Tuesday’s Trophy replay at Skem.

That is followed by clashes against Chorley on Boxing Day and January 2. Sandwiched in between is a December 28 clash with Curzon Ashton.

Challinor said: “There is the opportunity to pick up a lot of points but nothing is decided over Christmas and the New Year.

“After that, it is pretty much a sequence of Saturday-Saturday games, so that gives you more of a chance to work on things during the week.

“You get a better idea of how things are going to shape up by the time February comes around.”