Crainey worry for Fylde

Stephen Crainey
Stephen Crainey
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Experienced AFC Fylde defender Stephen Crainey requires a fitness test before lining up for tomorrow’s home clash with form team Gloucester City in Vanarama National League North.

The Scot was this week having treatment for a back spasm, having switched from his regular left-back role to play centre-half for the first time in his career in last Saturday’ FA Trophy defeat at Gateshead.

With Josh Langley again suspended, Fylde manager Dave Challinor won’t want to be without the former Blackpool veteran.

On the plus side there is likely to be a return to the fray for Richie Baker, who has had cartilage and calf problems.

Challinor told The Gazette: “It could be a case of we win one, we lose one. We will have to see with Crainey but we are very hopeful about Baker.

“We decided not to play Richie at Gateshead because we were being careful with him, and we wanted to give him a full week to recover.

“He is important to us as we are a little bit low on numbers in midfield.”

Fylde welcome a Gloucester side who have been in outstanding form of late and have yet to taste defeat in 2016, earning the January manager of the month prize for boss Tim Harris.

The fourth-placed Coasters can now focus on pressing league matters following their 1-0 exit at Gateshead in the last 16 of the FA Trophy.

Challinor said: “If we had beaten Gateshead, there might have been a distraction because of the way the draw panned out. We’d have faced Chester or Halifax and would have been only one match away from a semi-final.

“We take on a Gloucester side who are on such a great run but we must be concerned with what we have to do.”

The last time the clubs met at Kellamergh Park was in the 2014-15 season, when AFC Fylde won a remarkable high-scoring encounter 6-4.

The fans would undoubtedly lap up another such goal-fest but Challinor admitted: “We hope it’s not that kind of scoreline this time.

“If we play to our potential, we know we are a big threat to everyone and as good as any team in this division.

“With the players we have got, going full-time and having a few more additions, I am convinced we would be able to compete in a higher division.”

It’s a busy week for Fylde, who face the long trip to Lowestoft on Tuesday, a game switched to midweek because of another long-distance away game, at Eastbourne in the FA Trophy, last month.

n AFC Blackpool and Squires Gate will be anxious to return to action in the North West Counties League tomorrow.