Challinor keen to avoid Olympic epic

Michael Barnes

Michael Barnes

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Promotion-chasing manager Dave Challinor has set his AFC Fylde side a target to avoid a ‘titanic Tuesday’ tussle with Rushall Olympic.

Rushall are Fylde’s main rivals for the final play-off place in the Evo-Stik Northern Premier.

Fylde gave themselves a four-point cushion with a game in hand on Tuesday, when Adam Farrell struck deep into injury time to secure a 3-2 victory.

Next Tuesday’s Rushall date at Fylde’s Kellamergh Park has long been ringed in many a Coasters calendar but so hectic is Fylde’s run-in – they are in the middle of a run of six games in 15 days – that they play twice more before then.

And Challinor believes victories at Stocksbridge Park Steels tonight (7.45pm) and Worksop on Saturday will secure a top-five spot before Rushall’s visit.

Challinor told The Gazette: “I think Rushall already have it all to do but I think five more points will get us in the play-offs for sure. Ideally we’d like to get them before we play Rushall.”

Fylde got out of jail against Frickley after losing at home to another struggling side, Stafford, last weekend, but Challinor refuses to accept that his squad is buckling under the burden of a busy workload.

He added: “I think they were typical end-of-season games in which teams without much to play for try to stop you playing, and credit to them for making it difficult.

“It has been difficult to create opportunities, though we were guilty of conceding poor goals against Stafford and Frickley. That gave them something to hold on to, which we can’t afford to do.”

The relentless match schedule has made effectively rule out training nights, which Challinor admits is not ideal.

“We know Stocksbridge are a big, physical side and we’d have liked to do some preparation specifically on that game, but it’s really about what we do.

Brad Barnes plays his last match before suspension tonight.