Fylde boss strives for perfection

Matty Blinkhorn
Matty Blinkhorn
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AFC Fylde striker Matty Blinkhorn starts a three-match suspension tomorrow, so misses the leaders’ home clash with Gloucester City in Vanarama National North.

Blinkhorn was sent off soon after coming on as a substitute in the 3-2 win over Halifax on Monday, is also ruled out of Tuesday’s home clash with Curzon Ashton and the visit to FC United of Manchester.

Unbeaten Fylde top the table on goal difference from Salford City and Harrogate Town. And although manager Dave Challinor is satisfied with the start, he is looking for more nothing less than perfection.

He told The Gazette: “You are always striving for something better – the perfect performance, if you like.

“You may not necessarily get it but that is what you are always looking for.”

Challinor has healthy respect for tomorrow’s visitors Gloucester, who have started the season well and arrive at Mill Farm tomorrow in seventh spot, just four points adrift of the Coasters and with a match in hand.

Challinor said: “Maybe at the start of the season people did not see Gloucester as possible contenders for promotion but they have started well.

“They are unbeaten away, and they have only lost once at home – to Darlington – and were unlucky in that match.

“There are no weak links in this division and no easy matches. We have had Gloucester watched and we know they will prove to be tough for us.

“Like a lot of sides who come to Mill Farm this season, they will regard us as the benchmark to judge themselves.

“Some people may think that results at Fylde are a foregone conclusion because we have started the season so well, but they could not be more wrong.”

Challinor was pleased with a profitable bank holiday weekend, which brought wins over Halifax Town (home) and Bradford Park Avenue (away).

They scored seven goals in those two matches, taking their goal difference to +13, the best in the competition.

Such free-scoring exploits could be one of the reasons why crowds at the new stadium are around 250 per cent up on last season.

Fylde recorded their first win there at the third attempt against Halifax and Challinor said: “It is hard to say whether the increased crowds have affected the way the team plays.

“Once you are on the pitch players concentrate on what they have to do and don’t take that much interest in how big the crowd is.

“But to have an average of 1,700 for the first three matches and that is fantastic for the club.

“The atmosphere at the ground so far this season has been amazing. We hope that it will continue and that we can keep playing the type of football that attracts good crowds.”

The Coasters will still be without injured goalkeeper Rhys Taylor tomorrow as well as Brendon Daniels.

The Gloucester ranks include Tom Webb, who is one of the longest-serving players at this level of non-league, having reached a milestone of 650 appearances.

Webb said of Fylde: “They’re strong every year. They seem to be ploughing more money into it and these are the kind of games you want to be playing in.”