Cup replay hits Fylde’s big-match plans

Dave Challinor
Dave Challinor

Tonight’s rearranged FA Trophy clash with Skelmersdale United may have disrupted AFC Fylde boss Dave Challinor’s preparations for Saturday’s massive home league match against Solihull Moors ... but the manager is still aiming to keep the cup run going.

Challinor is hopeful the clash with Evo-Stik League Skem, one of the nine first round ties which fell victim to waterlogged pitches on Saturday, will go ahead at the second attempt this evening (7.45pm).

The Coasters boss told The Gazette: “The drainage at Kellamergh Park is very good, and had the match been rearranged for Monday night it would definitely have gone ahead. We’re now in the lap of the gods as to what the weather brings on Tuesday.

“We were hoping to get this game out of the way on Saturday and have a full week of three training sessions to prepare for Solihull Moors, but we will get on with it the best we can.”

Solihull did play in the Trophy on Saturday and earned a highly creditable draw at Grimsby Town. And it’s something of a sore point that their replay has been delayed until next Tuesday, while Fylde v Skelmersdale is among the 11 Trophy ties tonight.

It’s second v fourth when Fylde welcome Solihull to Kellamergh, and the extra time on the training ground this week could tip the balance in the visitors’ favour.

However, Challinor added: “They have a slight advantage now, I suppose, with us playing midweek but we will be professional, do our jobs and try to win the game against Skelmersdale.

“Solihull set up a little bit differently to most in their style of play and their system, and we had a few tricks up our sleeve to exploit that.

“Now we don’t have quite the same time to look at that, but we will still go into the game looking to come away with a positive result.”

Challinor had hinted that he may rethink his team for the Skem game now it comes closer to the Moors match.

But he told The Gazette: “We have a couple who have sickness and bugs, and we will probably only make a decision last-minute on how we line up.

“It’s a tough one because we want to keep our winning momentum going but we also want to give ourselves the best chance we can against Solihull.”

The reward for tonight’s winners is an epic trek to Vanarama National South club Eastbourne Borough in the second round on January 16. Fylde were braced for an exhausting journey that day anyway as they are scheduled to visit National North’s unlikeliest members, Lowestoft Town, in the league.

Lowestoft are still in the Trophy too, and should they or Fylde reach the second round, then the Coasters’ visit to Suffolk will probably we rearranged for a Tuesday night.

Challinor added: “That’s a scenario we’ve been wary of since the fixtures came out and our game at Lowestoft was fixed for a cup weekend. We’ll just have to cross that bridge when we come to it.”