Fylde Women make best of bizarre FA Cup build-up
Fylde Women boss Kim Turner admits the build-up to her side’s FA Cup clash with Burnley is “just mental”.
The positive side is that high-flying Fylde will return to action post-lockdown with a mouthwatering second-round tie in Padiham on April 4.
However, it will be the first game in 16 weeks for a side who haven’t trained all year and won’t be allowed to until six days before the match.
Fylde last took the field on December 13, winning 8-1 against a Sheffield side they could face again at their home ground of Kellamergh Park in round three.
The next three rounds of the cup are set for successive Sundays in April, when Fylde’s reward for beating Burnley would be a home tie against Sunderland or Sheffield, with Manchester United possibly awaiting in round four.
But the lack of preparation time is far from ideal as joint-manager Turner told The Gazette.
“We’ve questioned the fact the boys in the academy at Fylde can train for their cup-tie because theirs is considered an elite competition, but ours isn’t so we can’t train.
“So all we can do is train as much as we can between March 29 (when government restrictions on outdoor sport are eased) and the game itself.
“The girls have had a training plan to keep them ticking over for the past 10 weeks.
“We had a Zoom session and Sunday and said that training over the next three weeks is mandatory.
“We don’t want to put any pressure on the players but we do want them to be accountable and to take ownership.
“We’ve given them progressive training patterns, which will build up week by week. We have to train from distance but we trust the players.”
The two top tiers of the women’s game have continued through lockdown but Fylde’s level – tier three – has not.
The action stopped with Fylde second in the FA Women’s National League Northern Premier Division, having won six of their eight games.
They hope to discover next week whether the league season will be completed.
Turner added: “Our understanding is that if we did start it would not be until the end of April, so if we did have a run of games in the FA Cup that would be good preparation.
“We could then hopefully get eight weeks of league fixtures because we could carry on until the end of June.”
Just like the men’s side at AFC Fylde, Turner’s team would love to continue playing and fight for promotion to the Championship.
“We never aimed at promotion this season,” Kim said, “especially as the club went out of existence for a time last summer.
“Ultimately we want to climb into the Super League but our target for this season was the top three or four.
“Who knows how things will go if we start again after such a long break?
“It could come down to points per game but whatever happens the girls have been fantastic.”
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