Fylde defender Neill Byrne boosted by safe keeping of Sam Hornby

Sam Hornby has not conceded a goal in three games for Fylde
Sam Hornby has not conceded a goal in three games for Fylde

Neill Byrne has paid tribute to AFC Fylde goalkeeper Sam Hornby for his recent displays between the sticks.

READ MORE: Clean sheets give us fantastic chance says Fylde boss Bentley
The 24-year-old has enjoyed a fine run of form since coming back into the starting line-up in place of the injured James Montgomery.

Hornby, on loan from League Two side Bradford City until next month, has kept three consecutive clean sheets for the Coasters.

It has been central to Fylde’s recent turnaround in form, which has seen them win their last three on the spin.

And centre-half Byrne believes Hornby has been key to Fylde’s defensive improvements since Jim Bentley took charge at Mill Farm.

“We’re a lot more solid as a defensive unit, not just the defence, the midfield or the forwards. Everybody is working hard,” Byrne said.

“We’ve got Jordan Williams up there, who I thought was brilliant in the FA Cup game against Kingstonian, working his socks off.

“As a defence we want to keep clean sheets and Sam Hornby helped us by making some great saves.

“Since coming in he’s produced some stunning staves when we’ve needed him to and clean sheets help breed confidence.

“When you go 1-0 up you’re thinking we’re going to win this game because we know we can keep it tight at the back.

“We just need to keep building on that, keep working hard and keep listening to the gaffer.”

Fylde’s latest win came in the FA Cup on Saturday, when a Jordan Williams brace helped them see off Kingstonian 2-0 in Greater London.

It saw the Coasters reach the third round of the competition for the first time in their history and they will next take on Premier League side Sheffield United at Bramall Lane.

“We all knew before the game it was going to be tough,” Byrne said.

“People might have made a lot about the pitch and the stadium but the changing rooms are nice, the pitch has been good and they played some good football at times.

“We probably got the two goals on the counter but we knew what we needed to do.

“We studied them during the week, so we knew what they were good at and we knew their weaknesses.

“But we played to our gameplan very well and we were clinical when we needed to be. Overall it was a very professional performance.”

Speaking before Monday ’s third round draw, Byrne said Manchester United would have been his ideal opponent.

He added: “There are so many big teams out there –you’ve got Manchester United, Manchester City, Arsenal, Chelsea.

“Growing up my family would say they supported Manchester United.

“I can only imagine what it’s like playing at Old Trafford when it’s full, so that would be a dream come true.”