Caspar alert as Fylde await Alfreton

Caspar Hughes

Caspar Hughes

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AFC Fylde are monitoring the fitness of Caspar Hughes in the run-up to the home clash with Alfreton Town in Vanarama National League North tomorrow.

ughes has been carrying a groin strain and Coasters manager Dave Challinor said: “We want everyone available at this stage of the season, but we have to look at the bigger picture and the fact that we have a sequence of Saturday-Tuesday matches coming up over the next few weeks. With that in mind we want to make sure he is right.”

The Coasters are hoping to get back into action to maintain their promotion charge after the farce of last Saturday, when the match at Stalybridge Celtic was abandoned after 12 minutes because of a waterlogged pitch.

Fylde have slipped to fifth, Boston United having overtaken them with Wednesday’s win at Bradford Park Avenue. The Coasters have at least one game in hand on all the teams above them but trail leaders Solihull Moors by 10.

Alfreton are beneath the play-off zone but still have an outside chance of getting into the mix and have won six of their last nine.

But they need to bounce back after the disappointment of a 1-1 draw with struggling Corby Town in their latest fixture.

Challinor said: “Alfreton are certainly one of the sides in this division capable of challenging. They have some experienced players They are athletic and phys ically strong, but they can also get the ball down and play.”

A fixture backlog means the Coasters still have a third of this season’s fixtures to play, and with several of those being matches against fellow promotion hopefuls Challinor says his side are still masters of their own destiny.

The Fylde boss added: “It’s not going to be an easy end to the season, but the positive is that our destiny is in our own hands.

“We still have to play at home against Nuneaton, Boston, North Ferriby and Harrogate.

“We have had a tough time recently, with some up and down results, but I wouldn’t say that we have been playing particularly badly.

“We haven’t helped ourselves over the past couple of months. We have made mistakes that we have been punished for and at times we have let ourselves down with indiscipline.

“The objective to win promotion hasn’t changed. There is obviously more than one way of doing that but it’s notoriously difficult to get out of this division.

“We came into this league last season and it was a bit of a step into the unknown. We probably overachieved and ended up challenging for the title, coming up just one point short.

“I think how we did last season opened people’s eyes to where we are at but there is probably now more expectation from our own supporters. At times people probably think games and results are a given. I’ve been involved in football as a player and a manager for nearly 25 years and I know that’s not the case. We cannot afford to fall into that trap.

“The division is an awful lot closer than it was last year and teams are more aware of how we play and the threat we pose.

“We knew that if we didn’t improve from last season we would struggle to even stand still, never mind go one better.

“This season has been very difficult in terms of injuries to key players that we just didn’t have last year. However, we just have to get on with it. We are still competing and looking up. “

Fylde came from behind to win 2-1 at Alfreton in December, but Challinor believes the Derbyshire club are starting to show their true colours.

He said: “Alfreton struggled at the beginning of the season, but with the squad they have I expected them to be competing at the right end of the table and they are starting to do that now.”

Alfreton are managed by former Blackpool defender Nicky Law, who is now one of the longest-serving bosses at this level of non-league, having been in charge of the Derbyshire club since 2007.