No keepers but AFC Fylde boss won’t panic

Former Fylde keepers Urwin and Hinchliffe

Former Fylde keepers Urwin and Hinchliffe

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AFC Fylde manager Dave Challinor admits that heading into pre-season without a goalkeeper on the books is less than ideal.

Both last season’s stoppers have left for pastures new, with Ben Hinchliffe joining Stockport County and Matt Urwin moving to Fleetwood Town last weekend.

However, Challinor is in no mad rush to fill the void. He said: “It’s not ideal to go from having two goalkeepers to having none.

“We have spoken to a lot of goalkeepers but, as with every other player we have been looking at, we have to be patient.

“We could dive in and offer someone a deal but we would rather wait to get the right one.

“The better players become available the closer we get to the season. At the moment these players are touting themselves about and asking for unrealistic money.

“Players are in a strong position at the moment, but in a few weeks some won’t have received any offers matching what they want and that’s when we can strike. That’s when it switches and the clubs are in a strong position.

“If we can get someone with experience, then great, but there are plenty of goalkeepers higher up the leagues who are ready to go out on loan.

“There is a lot competition because obviously there is only one spot for a goalkeeper in a team.

“We don’t really mind if they are experienced, young or whatever, as long as they are the right fit for our team.

“We want the right goalkeeper with the right physical attributes, one who can play with their feet and who fits in with the direction we are heading.

“We have had lots of names thrown at us and it down to us to pick the right one now.”

While Challinor admits he saw one goalkeeping departing coming, he was surprised by Urwin’s decision to join Fleetwood.

“We were already aware that we would lose Ben because he has a good job that he didn’t want to leave (when the Coasters went full-time).

“Matt’s situation was a little different. Obviously we would have liked to keep him but he has made the decision to go to Fleetwood.

“He will be doing some coaching over there and I think they see him as much as a coach as a player.

“Personally, I think it’s a bit of an odd decision because he will more than likely be playing development squad football and at his age I think that is a bit of a backwards step.

“If I were him, I’d still want to be a number one somewhere, but that’s his decision and all the best to him.

“We certainly have players who are good enough to play in the Football League, but if I was going to Fleetwood I’d want to know I would be in and around the first team.

“It’s different if we have 17 or 18-year-old lads in our team and Football League clubs them for their development squad.

“But if you have been playing first-team football for a while, to step back into development squad is a big decision, particularly with the strength of our league.

“And a lot of clubs higher up are looking to non-league now for players rather than going into their own development squads.”

DANIEL AGNEW