Challinor’s big step

Dave Chandler
Dave Chandler
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DAVE Challinor insists he has taken one step forward rather than two back despite dropping from the Conference with Colwyn Bay to manage AFC Fylde.

Former Tranmere, Stockport and Bury defender Challinor has taken charge at Kellamergh Park just nine days after the departure of Kelham O’Hanlon, his former coach at Bury.

The 36-year-old has dropped two divisions down the non-league pyramid after accepting Fylde’s challenge to repeating his meteoric success with Colwyn Bay at both levels of the Evo-Stik League.

Having captained the side which won the play-off final in Fylde’s division, First Division North, in 2009-10, Challinor took over as manager to steer the club into the Conference at the first attempt as Premier Division runners-up. Colwyn Bay are currently tenth in Blue Square Bet North.

And Challinor is determined to do it all over again at Fylde, where his application was the first to land on chairman David Haythornthwaite’s desk.

The difference, as Challinor readily admits, is that there is rather more pressure at Fylde. He told The Gazette: “The ambition of the people here is quite well known and it was a job that interested me as soon as Kelham left. Once I had spoken to the the chairman my opinion of Fylde only improved.

“Yes, there’s a bit of pressure here. We took over at a club (Colwyn Bay) with no expectations at all, but this is a completely different challenge.

“It’s a club which has made a lot of progress but has come up against a hurdle which it has to clear if its plans on and off the field are to materialise.

There’s little time for Challinor to get his feet under the managerial disk, with Saturday’s home game against struggling Cammell Laird followed by a visit to second-placed Curzon Ashton on Monday.

He meets the players for the first time tonight and will reassure them that wholesale changes are not on the agenda. Challinor added: “There is stacks of ability here, and it is our job to stamp our style on it and achieve promotion.I don’t think a huge amount needs changing.

“There are players I would like to bring to the club but it would be remiss of me to start bringing players in left, right and centre. I’ll tell the players that everyone will have an opportunity.”

Challinor has made the move from North Wales with his No.2 and former Bury team-mate Colin Woodthorpe.

He explained: “I wanted to bring someone I have close ties to. Colin and I work really well together. He’s someone I trust, we are friends away from the club and we compliment each other well. He is a big part of the success I have had.

“I had three fantastic seasons at Colwyn Bay, so it tugged at the heartstrings to leave. It’s a fantastic club with great people, but this was too good an opportunity for me to let pass by.”

Colwyn Bay have been threatened with relegation by the league unless work on a new stand is under way by the end of March. The club has wasted no time in appointing striker Jon Newby as player-manager.