Coasters aim to reach play-off final

Blinkhorn - biggest week in club's history
Blinkhorn - biggest week in club's history
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The stakes are sky-high on Tuesday, when AFC Fylde are at home to Worksop Town in the Evo-Stik Northern Premier League semi-final play-off (7.45pm), with striker Matty Blinkhorn labelling it as the start of the biggest week in the club’s history.

Fylde’s matchwinner against Kings Lynn last weekend said: “The aim at the start of the season was to get promoted one way or another and we’re in with a very good chance of doing that.

“We can’t look too far ahead. We’ve got to win tonight before even thinking about Saturday’s final.”

The Coasters missed out on promotion to the Conference North in the play-offs last season and the setback is still seared in the memory.

Blinkhorn said: “None of the lads who were involved last season want to have that feeling again.

“I felt sick after that defeat and Dave Challinor, our manager, said to us on the pitch afterwrds that we needed to remember that feeling and use it to spur us on this season. That will definitely drive the lads on to not be in that situation again.

“There are different factors this season as we’re at home for at least one of the games, and we know we can beat anybody on our day as long as we perform to our full potential.”

Blinkhorn and his team-mates won’t under-estimate Worksop, even though AFC Fylde have beaten the Tigers twice already this season – 3-1 and a resounding 6-1.

“Worksop will certainly be ready and up for it. They have rested one or two key players over the past couple of games ahead of this match.

“They’ll feel that they’ve got something to prove. That shouldn’t be an issue as we’ll concentrate on our own performance, and on our own pitch we can beat anyone.”

As for the prospect of promotion, the Coasters’ striker said: “It’ll open up so many doors for the club and I can’t wait to get out on the pitch and do my bit.

Challinor told The Gazette: “We have beaten them twice already this season and I suppose that could give us some kind of psychological edge, but at this stage of the season past results go out of the window.

“I have every confidence in my team and if we can perform to the levels I know we can achieve we are a match for anyone in the division.

“It is a massive game and a one-off cup final. We hope to put the experience of winning one-off matches, like the LFA Trophy Final and the Doodson Sport Cup final, to good use.”

Tonight’s other semi-final pits FC United of Manchester against Ashton United.

The winners will meet in Saturday’s play-off final, with the victors promoted with champions Chorley.

The team with the higher league placing will host the final, meaning Fylde would could only be at home for the decider if Ashton won at FC United.

Challinor expects Dave Hankin, Michael Barnes and Brad Barnes to be involved on Tuesday night.

All three have been carrying niggles over recent weeks and the Coasters boss has been rationing their appearances with an eye on fielding them in such a key clash.