Coasters strengthen by signing up versatile duo

Adam Carden (left) and Matt Hughes (right) with AFC Fylde boss Dave Challinor

Adam Carden (left) and Matt Hughes (right) with AFC Fylde boss Dave Challinor

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AFC Fylde have continued their strengthening for the Evo-Stik Premier by signing up two players who plied their trade at non-league’s elite level on the North West coast last season.

The Coasters have signed up versatile duo Adam Carden, who made 21 Blue Square Bet Premier appearances for Southport last season, and Matty Hughes, who was released by Conference champions Fleetwood Town at the end of the season.

Both players can operate in defence or in midfield. Hughes, 20, is a product of the Celtic youth set-up, but managed just one appearance last season after moving south to Highbury.

Carden, previously with FC United and Altrincham, made all but two of his league appearances as a substitute last season.

AFC Fylde boss Dave Challinor said: “They are both fantastic acquisitions that strengthen us even further.”

Hughes had a spell under Challinor on loan at Colwyn Bay last year, and the manager is impressed with his pedigree. “He’s got a full season in the Blue Square North under his belt and comes to us from full-time football.

“We’re delighted he has chosen to come and work with us again, as he feels we can help him get back into full-time professional football.

“He started at Rochdale, before spending three years at Celtic as captain of their youth and reserve teams, so he comes with a great footballing upbringing.

“He recognises we are ambitious and determined to move forward, and he can’t wait to be a part of that.”

Challinor also jumped at the opportunity to sign 26-year-old Carden, adding: “He was all set to stay at Southport, but a change in his working situation meant he wasn’t able to commit to daytime training.

“It’s common knowledge I’ve been looking for a full-back since losing Jimmy Heywood due to work commitments, and Adam gives us not only this but options higher up the pitch or in midfield.

“He’s an attack-minded player and fits in perfectly with how we want to play. I’m delighted he recognised what we are trying to do here and wants to be part of that.”

*FYLDE’S pre-season programme is also building up, with two friendlies on the same day in North Wales.

Two different Fylde XIs will face Connah’s Quay at 12.30pm on Saturday, July 28, and Rhyl at 3pm.

These are the fifth and sixth pre-season games confirmed by Fylde, a programme which starts at Garstang on July 11, and features home games against Wigan Athletic (20) and Accrington Stanley (24).