Challinor welcomes extra time decision

Manager Dave Challinor
Manager Dave Challinor
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AFC Fylde boss Dave Challinor has welcomed the Evo-Stik League’s decision to extend the Northern Premier Division season by a week to May 4 because of the fixture backlog.

Promotion-chasing Fylde, with more games to squeeze in than any other side, are the main beneficiaries of the decision taken yesterday after another weekend was almost entirely lost to the weather.

The postponement of Fylde’s home clash with Hednesford on Saturday left Challinor’s side facing 12 matches in 33 days, with play-offs possibly to follow.

The extension has enabled Fylde to switch their home game against Rushall Olympic from a week tomorrow or Tuesday, April 30, sparing Challinor’s charges the gruelling schedule of four games in eight days next week.

The Hednesford game will now be staged on the new final day.

Challinor told The Gazette: “We are obviously pleased that common sense has prevailed and the season has been extended.

“The weather has hit all clubs, but we have also been victims of our own success after good runs in the FA Cup and FA Trophy.

“We are in a good run of form and so are desperate to get matches played.

“We still have a lot of games to catch up on and a hectic schedules – I can’t see Saturday’s game at Stocksbridge Park Steels going ahead after all the snow they’ve had in South Yorkshire.”

Challinor is contemplating further moves into the transfer market before tomorrow’s deadline to increase his options for the busy run-in.

Fylde chairman David Haythornthwaite had stated over the weekend that he would be appealing to the league for an extension.

Yesterday he said: “Everyone at the club is obviously delighted with the good news. I said that I hoped pragmatism and fairness would prevail and it obviously has.”

League operations manager Alan Alcock said: “The weather does not show any signs of relenting, with an expectation that this week’s midweek programme is likely to be decimated due to pitches not being able to recover from the weekend’s snowfall.

“It is with a responsibility to the welfare of players, extensive midweek travelling and spectators getting to games that reluctantly the decision has been made to extend the season to include a full round of fixtures on May 4.

“This decision has not been taken lightly and must not been seen as a precedent for future seasons.”

New dates for the play-offs will be finalised as soon as possible.

- FYLDE are hoping to rearrange their midweek match against Matlock for tomorrow night at Kellamergh Park.

With Matlock’s pitch almost certain to be unfit to stage the scheduled fixture tonight, Fylde have suggested reversing their two matches against the Derbyshire club to avoid adding to the fixture backlog. If Matlock agree to travel to Warton tomorrow, the return match on Saturday week would be switched to Matlock.