Coasters face tough opener

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Promotion-chasing AFC Fylde begin their Evo-Stik Premier Division season with a home match against Stafford Rangers on August 17.

Stafford are one of three teams who took six points of the Coasters last season and Dave Challinor’s Fylde side face a tough start to their campaign.

They visit title favourites FC United of Manchester three days later and welcome Chorley to Kellamergh Park for an August bank holiday derby.

Fylde’s FA Cup first qualifying round opponents, Blyth Spartans, will visit Kellamergh Park in the league on October 22.

Other key dates to look out for are the trip to newly promoted Kings Lynn Town on December 21 and the Boxing Day clash with Evo-Stik Division One North champions Skelmersdale United.

Having missed out on promotion in the play-offs last season, Fylde have been working on stengthening their squad this summer.

However, they were left to with big shoes to fill after Sean Cooke and Adam Farrell both moved to Conference North club, AFC Telford United, while full-back Steve Haslam took a coaching role at former club Sheffield Wednesday and Adam Carden made a permanent move to Nantwich Town after a loan.

Moving in the opposite direction from Nantwich is Caspar Hughes, who manager Dave Challinor sees as an ideal replacement for Cooke.

Next to arrive at 
Kellamergh Park was right-sided midfielder/defender Dave Hankin, fresh from a title-winning season with Chester FC.

Striker Matty Blinkhorn was next to put pen to paper, having scored twice in three appearances at the end of last season on loan from Hyde.

The latest pieces in the jigsaw are defender Andy Russell from Chorley and experienced striker Danny Lloyd from Tamworth having previously played with Fylde’s management duo at Colwyn Bay.

There may yet be more additions to the Fylde squad before the big kick-off in a month’s time.