Table-topping Coasters take nothing for granted

Danny Rowe has a twin incentive to open the scoring for AFC Fylde today    Picture: Steve McLellan
Danny Rowe has a twin incentive to open the scoring for AFC Fylde today Picture: Steve McLellan
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AFC Fylde head into this afternoon’s match against Stalybridge Celtic knowing that victory will see them within touching distance of league glory.

The Coasters lead the pack in the National League North by nine points with five games to play and need just three victories to secure the Championship.

Whilst the maths are straightforward, manager Dave Challinor insists his side are taking nothing for granted.

He said: “On paper the equation is pretty simple, but carrying it out is far from that.

“The points total that we thought would win the league back in December still stands and last weekend’s victory over Darlington took us a massive step towards that.

“Perhaps we had been feeling a little bit of pressure with Kidderminster closing the gap to the closest they had been for a while in recent weeks. However, last Saturday’s results opened up the gap again and eased that pressure.

“Winning three out of the next five is still a big ask, but it’s a bigger ask for Kidderminster to win six out of six to keep the pressure on us. We have to get the three wins as quickly as possible.

“Today will be a big test for us because the pitch is terrible and won’t allow us to play our usual game. They play rugby on the pitch too but we can’t make excuses, we have to go there and win.

“We simply have to find a way to win. It won’t be pretty and it probably won’t be very enjoyable but if we have the three points come 5pm then it really won’t matter.

“We can’t always control the performance or the surface, but we can control the desire and passion that the players put in.

“We have five games remaining and they all present a different challenge. Today’s game is massive for both clubs. They stand in the way of our objectives and we stand in the way of them potential staying in this league.

“On the flip side we are looking to win a championship so there is plenty to play for. It’s a battle of wills.”

The Coasters have racked up a phenomenal 99 league goals this season and Challinor is hoping one man in particular can reach two special milestones in one fell swoop.

He said: “It is a great achievement to be on the verge of such a fabulous milestone but we have been fantastic going forward at times this season. Danny Rowe will get most of the plaudits for his goal scoring but everyone has chipped in.

“Blue sky thinking, you would hope Rowey gets the 100th goal and it would be fitting for him to equal the league record (currently held by Altrincham’s Damien Reeves) at the same time.

“Personal targets in football are fantastic but ultimately it’s a team game and we have one overriding aim this season. However, if you can pick up personal accolades along the way then better still.”