Kel’s still spellbound by cup magic

Ben Waddington
Ben Waddington
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THE magic of the FA Cup comes to Common Edge tomorrow and AFC Fylde boss Kelham O’Hanlon says its spell will never wear off.

O’Hanlon’s side visit AFC Blackpool for an FA Cup tie which is among the most intriguing in tomorrow’s first preliminary round draw.

AFC Fylde have made an unbeaten start to their Evo-Stik First Division North campaign but O’Hanlon is well aware that won’t worry a Blackpool side who would love to claim their scalps.

And the Fylde boss is as enthusiastic about the derby clash as any supporter. He told The Gazette: “Anyone who doesn’t look forward to the FA Cup is not a lover of football. It may be the very early stages but the magic is still there.

“It’s the only competition which has this magic, the only one in which a club like ourselves could find themselves in the same draw as Manchester United.”

Fylde have won four of their first six league games 3-0 and have drawn the other two, sharing the spoils with early pace-setters Lancaster City on Monday.

But tough taskmaster O’Hanlon isn’t entirely satisfied. “We’ve certainly had a good start but it could have been better. We’d have settled for 14 points at this stage, but it is only a start and we have to stay focused on what we want to achieve.”

Town have a whole new strikeforce this season but certainly haven’t struggled for goals and O’Hanlon is pleased with the way the new recruits are gelling.

“The new guys have all contributed in different ways and I think the squad will get better and better.

“We lost a lot of goals with Matt Walwyn and Tom Cahill leaving, but we are have created chances and are asking the likes of Michael Barnes and Joe Booth to contribute more than last season.”

One player who would love to contribute tomorrow is striker Ben Waddington, who joined Fylde after a prolific season with promoted AFC Blackpool, who now play just one division before Fylde in the North West Counties premier.

O’Hanlon added: “Ben is new to this level and he hasn’t had the starts he would have liked, but he has to get up to the tempo of this division and take his opportunity when it comes. It takes a bit of time and he has to get a bit fitter but Ben will be fine.”

It’s Fylde’s opening tie in the competition, whereas for Blackpool this match-up is the reward for a 3-2 win at Bacup in the extra preliminary round a fortnight ago.

Blackpool boss Stuart Parker said: “Fylde are the obvious favourites but we can go out there and enjoy it, and I have a bunch of determined lads.”

Squires Gate have lost four of their first five in the NW Counties premier and hope to kickstart their season with a second FA Cup win.

They entertain first division Atherton Collieries after a 1-0 win over Colne in the last round.