Jim Bentley looks forward to AFC Fylde’s history-making FA Cup tie at Sheffield United

AFC Fylde manager Jim Bentley           Picture: Steve McLellan
AFC Fylde manager Jim Bentley Picture: Steve McLellan

Jim Bentley can’t wait for AFC Fylde’s historic FA Cup tie at Sheffield United tomorrow.

The clash will be full of new dawns for Fylde; it is the first time they have reached the third round of the FA Cup and the first time they have played Premier League opposition in a competitive game.

VAR will also be used at Bramall Lane and other Premier League grounds, meaning Fylde will be the first non-league side to have the technology in one of their games.

Bentley’s preparation meant the Evertonian had to visit the red side of Liverpool when Sheffield United played at Anfield on Thursday.

“I’m massively excited. It’s a big game for the football club, for the players, the community, the fanbase,” he said.

“It’s a massive tie in regards to playing Premier League opposition, the first time in the third round of the FA Cup.

“It’s a huge game for all concerned and one we’re really looking forward to. As I’d told the players when the draw came out, we haven’t touched on it since because we’ve had a league programme to get through.

“It’s a game we can enjoy but it’s not a game where you can go and just make the numbers up.

“It’s a massive ask and it’s going to be a tough task but we’re looking forward to it, we’ll give it a good shot and then see where that takes us.”

Bentley is looking forward to testing himself against Chris Wilder, his opposite number.

Wilder, who previously tried to sign Bentley as a player, has said he’ll make 11 changes but that is of no concern to the Coasters’ boss.

He said: “Come Sunday, we’re under no illusions, we’re coming up against good Premier League footballers.

“Whatever changes Chris has said he is going to make, it doesn’t matter because I look at the bench, seeing Phil Jagielka, Mo Besic, Billy Sharp; they’re fantastic players.

“I’ve come across him managing Oxford, managing Northampton and the success story has been fantastic for where he’s got to.

“He’s won promotions at difficult clubs as well, if you look at Northampton and what he did there, off the field as well, to get promoted.

“Then what he’s done at Sheffield United is fantastic.

“For any manager who wants to get on, they should aspire to be like Chris Wilder.

“It’s great to see a homegrown, English manager who has done his apprenticeship so to speak, at the lower levels, and worked his way up and now he’s at the top level.

“It’s fantastic for him and Alan Knill his assistant manager who I know well. I’m really pleased for them.”