Coasters’ lucky break?

Steve Williams could return for AFC Fylde

Steve Williams could return for AFC Fylde

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AFC Fylde are ahead of the game when it comes to the race for the National League North title – and one step in front when it comes to the question of a mid-winter break.

There has been a clamour and debate for years about the rights and wrongs of a recess in play during a cold spell, but the Coasters will have one soon.

After Saturday’s home clash against FC United Of Manchester – another eagerly-awaited North West clash in front of a big crowd – the make-up of the fixture list means that the Coasters will then have a fortnight off.

That is welcome news to Coasters’ manager Dave Challinor, who said: “With us not having a game for two weeks after playing FC United, we will have a break, which we regard as a good thing.

“We will train as normal during the week, but it will be a good chance for us to re-charge our batteries, while at the same time keeping the players on the boil so that we are ready for the challenges for the remainder of the season.

“I have not made a decision, but we could organise some kind of friendly between the FC United match and our next game.”

“We need to be ready and prepared to return because our first match back is against Curzon Ashton (away, January 21) and the following Tuesday against Alfreton (home, January 24)”

Before that it’s a match against FC United as Fylde bid to maintain – or extend – their current six-point lead over their nearest rivals in the league standings.

Challinor said: “It’s another big game, in front of another big crowd and a chance to keep up the gap on our rivals.

“We are a lot closer to having all our players fit and available than we were before the games with Chorley.”

Fylde are expected to welcome back James Hardy into the squad for tomorrow’s Mill Farm encounter.

Challinor remains optimistic over the prospects of another trio of injury casualties Matty Blinkhorn, Darren Stephenson and Steve Williams, who are all expected to be fit.

Sam Finley will not be considered as he continues to be monitored over a colitis problem.

Challinor said: “It is a day-to-day thing with Sam and the most important thing is that he gets back to full health.”