Baker gearing up for promotion challenge

Richie Baker
Richie Baker
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AFC Fylde midfielder Richie Baker is raring to go after shaking off a niggling pre-season injury.

Baker was ruled out of Fylde’s opening two warm-up matches but has returned to play in the last two, scoring in the 5-1 win over Runcorn Town.

Baker said of Tuesday’s match in sweltering Cheshire: “It was an enjoyable game and another good test for us.

“I thought we all played well and it was good to get our first win of pre-season out of the way. I think our fitness levels are getting close to where they should be now.

“On a personal level it has been great to be back out on the pitch over the past two games, having missed the first couple of friendlies.

“We have played a league team in Rochdale, and I thought we did pretty well in that game and we were probably a bit unlucky to lose.

“Second half against Nantwich on Saturday we were excellent (pulling back to draw 3-3 after trailing 3-0), so all in all I don’t think pre-season has been too bad in terms of performances.

“The new deeper role the manager wants me to play means that goals will probably be few and far between, but I’ll try to chip in.

“I take quite a few free-kicks and penalties, so maybe I can still score a few and hopefully get us promotion.”

Midfielder Baker is part of a new-look Coasters midfield following the arrival of Crawley midfielder Andy Bond and he believes the new man is the perfect fit.

Baker added: “Andy’s an experienced player with bags of quality, and he knows how to get out of this division from his time at Barrow.

“He has also played in the Football League for quite a few years and I’m sure his experience will help a few of the younger lads.

“We need a few more players, but hopefully that will get sorted and come August 6 we’ll be raring to go.”

Baker insists the aim is promotion to the National League but he is keen to continue the Coasters’ fine history in cup competitions.

“It would also be nice to have a couple of good runs in the cup competitions. Even before I joined I knew the club had enjoyed a few good runs in over the past few years.

“We had a good run in the FA Cup last year, going to Millwall, so we’ll be targeting a first or even second round appearance.

“Hopefully we can go a bit further in the FA Trophy and reach the latter stages of that.”

DANIEL AGNEW