Coasters’ boss demands a fresh start

Josh Heaton was on trial at AFC Fylde
Josh Heaton was on trial at AFC Fylde
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AFC Fylde manager Dave Challinor, who saw his side lose their proud unbeaten record at Tamworth, has told his players: “It’s time to start on another run.”

The Coasters’ 1-0 reverse at Tamworth brought to an end a 15-match undefeated sequence, which has seen them soar to the head of the Vanarama National League North standings.

The loss meant that the Coasters’ lead at the top of the table was reduced to a single point by Darlington 1883, who pegged back valuable ground thanks to a 4-1 win at Harrogate Town.

Now Challinor’s men face a new challenge at Mill Farm tomorrow when they entertain a Stalybridge Celtic side, third from bottom of the table and with a real fight on their hands to stave off relegation.

Reflecting on the Tamworth deal-breaker, Challinor said: “We have played worse than that and lost.

“We are back at home on Saturday and it is up to us to start on another unbeaten run.

“It has not been an easy start to the season for Stalybridge; they had a change of management team, but it will be tough for us because on Saturday they will do everything they can to make sure they stay in this division.”

There are a number of familiar names in the Celtic squad, including the likes of Matty Hughes and Aidan Chippendale, who had spells at AFC Fylde.

The Stalybridge ranks also include ex-Preston player Josh Heaton, who had a trial at Mill Farm in the close season, but eventually linked up with Stalybridge at Bower Fold.

Former Blackpool striker Liam Dickinson is also part of the Stalybridge set-up.

Challinor said: “We know a lot of their players, including those who used to be at Fylde.

“It is not unusual for players to move around clubs in the North West between ourselves, Stockport County, FC United and Stalybridge.”

It is an important seven days coming up for AFC Fylde for seven days after the Stalybridge match they journey to the North East for a clash with their close title rivals Darlington 1883.

Challinor arranged a behind-closed doors friendly this week against local side Lostock St Gerard’s FC.

And before the match of the season against Darlington, AFC Fylde entertain Darwen in the Lancashire FA Trophy on Tuesday, and Challinor intends to bring in players for that match who are in need of important game time.

Meanwhile, Challinor says he is not suffering any withdrawal symptoms due to the fact that his side are not playing in the first round of the FA Cup this weekend.

In recent seasons they have had cup-ties against the likes of Accrington Stanley, Plymouth Argyle and Millwall, all exciting forays into the world’s biggest knockout competition.

But Challinor said: “There is always the FA Trophy, which is coming up soon and gives clubs at our level a good chance of getting to Wembley. We will be one of the higher seeded teams in that.”

Challinor reports no fitness concerns for the Stalybridge game.