Joe Piggott deal boosts AFC Fylde but boss Jim Bentley has defence concern

Jim Bentley is delighted to see striker Joe Piggott sign a new contract at AFC Fylde but the manager still has a right-back problem to resolve.

Tuesday, 12th October 2021, 4:49 pm

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Piggott, who joined the Coasters on a short-term deal in August, has now signed a one-year contract, which the club have the option to extend by a further 12 months.

The 22-year-old is well known to Bentley and his assistant Nick Chadwick from previous stints at Morecambe and Wigan Athletic.

Joe Piggott (left) celebrates with goalscorer Ethan Walker after Fylde's late equaliser at Alfreton Picture: STEVE MCLELLAN

Though his season has been hampered by Covid, Piggott has scored twice in five Fylde appearances.

Now fully recovered, Piggott set up Ethan Walker to secure a 1-1 draw at Alfreton Town last weekend and said: “I’ve worked hard and I’m enjoying my time here. We’ve got a good group of lads, and we will keep on pushing to hopefully achieve our goals come the end of the season.”

Fylde have plenty of options in attack and Nick Haughton has won the Vanarama National League North player of the month award for August/September, after scoring seven goals in eight league games.

Haughton said: “I’m really pleased. It’s been a good start for me personally and getting a good few winning goals, but as a collective, the lads have been brilliant.”

But Fylde aren’t blessed with such riches at right-back, where Bentley is short of cover for injured first-choice Luke Burke.

It follows Dan Pike’s return to Blackburn Rovers following his month’s loan. The teenager is injured, meaning there was no question of Fylde trying to extend the deal.

Bentley explained: “Dan Pike was a late change (for the Alfeton game) due to inury. He will be out for a few weeks, so it would be wrong for us to take him (on an extended loan).

“We’ve explored other avenues and scouted one or two last week. Luke Burke is making progress but it’s quite a serious one so it’s a bit of an issue. Luke Joyce has played there once or twice.

“We went with three at the back at Alfreton, but second half we looked all over the show and we had to change to get back to some sort of normality.”

Another of Fylde’s loanees, Preston winger Ethan Walker, came off the bench to score the late equaliser which kept second-placed Fylde’s unbeaten league record intact.

Bentley added: “It’s his first goal in senior football so I’m really pleased for him. He hasn’t really got going yet because he had a bit of an injury.

“He hasn’t played a lot of football but he’s trained really well, and we thought we probably needed a bit of something off the bench to get us up the pitch and try to wrestle the game back.

“You want subs to come on and affect game in a positive manner and Ethan has come up trumps for us.”

Fylde return to Mill Farm on Saturday to face Gloucester City, who were top of the table when last season ended early. This time they find themselves at the wrong end of the division, with just one win from eight games to date.

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