I will improve, vows Fylde signing Stephenson

Stephenson (right) looks forward to his partnership with Rowe

Stephenson (right) looks forward to his partnership with Rowe

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New AFC Fylde signing Darren Stephenson insists there is a lot more to come after making his debut for the Coasters on Saturday.

The former Chorley winger joined the Coasters on loan from National League high-flyers Tranmere last week as Fylde boss Dave Challinor further boosted his attacking ranks.

Stephenson was thrown straight into Challinor’s starting line-up for the FA Trophy tie at Gloucester City and played the full 90 minutes as Fylde secured their place in the first round with a dramatic injury-time winner.

However, while the 23-year-old was underwhelmed with his own performance, he believes the Coasters fans are yet to seen the best of him.

Stephenson said: “On a personal level, it probably wasn’t the debut performance I would have hoped for. In fact it was probably the worst I’ve played all season!

“But you have days like that, so I have to just put it behind me.

“The fans can expect to see a lot more from me in the future, not least goals and creating chances for other players.

“We started poorly, including myself, but we eventually began to grow into the game.

“We were a lot better after the break and started playing as a team.

“Overall it wasn’t the best display but we got the result and that’s the important thing.”

Stephenson admitted he was especially looking forward to playing alongside one man in particular – 31-goal striker Danny Rowe.

The hitman netted his sixth hat-trick of the season at Whaddon Road and Stephenson can’t wait to link up with the in-form striker on a regular basis.

Stephenson added: “He took his goals very well and I’m looking forward to playing with him more.

“We didn’t manage to link up as much as I would have liked but he still managed to get three goals to win us the game.

“I’m sure once we get a run of games together and get to know each other’s game that can only help the team.”

While promotion from the National League North remains Fylde’s main aim this season, Stephenson believes the FA Trophy gives his side a chance to pit their wits against higher-level opposition.

“We want to go as far as we can in this competition,” he said. “We want to play against teams in the league above, so we can show we are capable of competing against them.

“We have a squad here that is more than capable of playing higher and this competition gives us the opportunity to do that.”