AFC Fylde received a boost on the eve of their mouthwatering FA Trophy clash at Gateshead when star striker Danny Rowe has signed a new two-and-a-half-year contract, with a further 12-month option.
Rowe has been in sensational form for the Coasters this season and tops the scoring charts with 26 goals, nine of them in his last seven games.
The 27-year-old joined the club in August 2014 from Lincoln City and fired 31 goals in all competitions as Fylde narrowly missed out on promotion last season.
Rowe said: “Fylde is my local team and I’m delighted to get the deal done.
“I’ve been here since the start of last season and I feel very settled now. At first I was a bit in and out of the team, but now I’m doing well and I want to continue that.
“I’m scoring goals, which is great, but ultimately my main aim this season is promotion.
“This club is really going places and looking to progress, and despite recent speculation I never wanted to leave. This new deal confirms that.”
Manager Dave Challinor said: “This is a big statement of intent from the club. We want to keep our best players and Danny certainly comes in to that category.
“His goalscoring record here speaks for itself and he deserves the reward of a long-term contract.
“We are building a strong squad here and the role of central striker is a tough one, but Danny is very good.
“He can now concentrate on what he does best and continue to kick on because I believe he is coming into his prime.
“He is capable of playing at a far higher level and hopefully he will be doing that with us in the near future.”
The deal further boosts Challinor buoyant mood ahead of tomorrow’s last-16 tie at Gateshead, where Fylde aim to pull off a shock against the National League side.
The Tyneside club will be hard to beat at their Gateshead International Stadium, having produced a solid performance to beat Grimsby Town 1-0 last Saturday before drawing 0-0 with Barrow on Tuesday.
Fylde manager Dave Challinor said: “It will be a tough game but one we are looking forward to - pitting ourselves against a team who are, if you like, a premier non-league side.
“We will be going up there looking to put on a performance.
“We had someone watching Gateshead’s match with Barrow and the weather seemed to have a big effect on the game - both teams were playing direct and low-risk.
“It is up to us to set Gateshead a different set of challenges and cause them problems going forward.
“Games like these don’t come around very often, but when they do you have to ensure that you make the most of them.
“Neil Aspin (Gateshead manager) will have them well organised and they will be a team that will be difficult to break down, but it is something we will face head on.”
Fylde will be without defender Josh Langley, who begins a three-match suspension following a red card for violent conduct against Worcester City.
Challinor said: “We have a number of options to cover for Josh and it is something we will be working on in training.”
Dom Collins will be hoping to return to his preferred centre-half position, having played at right-back in Tuesday’s 3-2 defeat at Chorley.
The cash incentive for Fylde tomorrow is the £18,000 from the prize pot that goes to the side that reaches the quarter-finals.
For the first time the FA Trophy and FA Vase finals will take place at Wembley on the same day, May 22.
Fylde have confirmed the appointment of Challinor’s former Tranmere Rovers team-mate Alex Hay as chief scout.
Hay’s brief is to oversee the introduction of a complete scouting network at the club, from watching games and producing match reports on opposition teams to highlighting potential targets for recruitment into the first team, not just on the Fylde coast but beyond.
Until recently Hay worked at Stockport County but relinquished that role on the departure of manager Neil Young.
Part of his brief at Fylde has been to give Gateshead the once-over.