AFC Fylde unfazed by away run

Brad Barnes is closing in on fitness
Brad Barnes is closing in on fitness
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AFC Fylde start a sequence of five consecutive matches away from home when they travel to promotion rivals and FA Trophy holders North Ferriby United tomorrow - but manager Dave Challinor is unbowed at the prospect.

He said: “It will be a challenge playing so many matches away from home at this stage of the season, and it could even be six matches away from home depending on what happens with the draw in the FA Trophy - but it is a challenge that we intend to face head on.

The Coasters go into the match in second place in the National League North, while the Humbersiders are in fourth place.

Some eyebrows have been raised as to how well North Ferriby have done this season, but Challinor certainly does not count himself among that number.

He said: “I know there was a lot of talk about budget cuts during the summer, but it doesn’t seem to have had any effect and they have kept most of their players.

“When I looked at the league at the start of the season, I thought there were half of the teams in the competition who were in contention for promotion and North 
Ferriby were certainly one of them. We know what to expect when we go to North Ferriby - they have a ground that is similar to ours, but there aren’t any other sides in this league who have 6ft 7in strikers like they have with Tom Denton.

“So we have to deal with that, but at the same time we will be out to pose a threat of our own.”

Fylde’s run in the FA Cup has meant re-scheduling of games, hence the number of away matches in the run-up to Christmas. On the fitness front, Challinor reports that the likes of Brad Barnes and James Hardy are another week away from full fitness.

Challinor added; “We have a few other niggles, but nothing that we can’t deal with.

“At this time of year, it is a question of managing the squad as much as you can.”