‘Massive’ task for Fylde at Stockport

Freescoring Danny Rowe

Freescoring Danny Rowe

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AFC Fylde manager Dave Challinor believes preparation is key this week as the Coasters gear up for tonight’s trip to Stockport County (7.45pm).

Challinor’s side were forced to play with 10 men for over half of Saturday’s match at FC United of Manchester, where the Vanarama National North leaders won 3-2.

Midfielder Sam Finley was given his marching orders before the break for kicking a water bottle into the crowd. He will receive a three-match ban for an act described by Challinor as “absolute stupidity”.

Even so, the Coasters held on for a vital win after two more goals by the prolific Danny Rowe and they stand three points clear as the last unbeaten side in the division.

Fylde turned in a fantastic performance at Stockport’s Edgeley Park last season, winning 4-0, but Challinor insists his side must be ready for a difficult test against one of his former clubs after an exhausting weekend.

The Fylde boss said: “It’s yet another tough game and it is now a very important game for us. The FA Cup draw (away at Alfreton on Saturday) has thrown up three tough away games in a week.

“We have one out of the way and ticked that off with the right result, and next up is a massive game against a side who are doing all right.

“The FA Cup game probably comes at a really good time for us because we can take stock and see where we are at after a hectic start to the season.

“We obviously want to do well in the cup but it is by no means the be all and end all.

“We have to make sure we look after ourselves and prepare properly after a huge effort on Saturday. It is more important than ever because that will have taken a lot out of the lads.

“We have been working on various things in training this season, including our pressing, but you cannot account for going down to 10 men and how the team will react.

“The lads were disciplined and that is exactly what they needed to be. We had to show another side to our game and they were fantastic.

“We have to make sure that come 7.45pm we are ready to go and ready to put in another shift. I want to see another big performance and hopefully that will produce another big result.

“It’s important we keen backing up these good results, especially when you play so soon again afterwards. The opportunity to pick up six points in four days is huge.”

DANIEL AGNEW