FYLDE coach Mark Nelson says the club will need a ‘bare minimum’ of 28 to 30 players capable of competing in the first team if they are to maintain progress in National League One next season.
But their sights could be even higher than that.
Despite the dispiriting home setback at the hands of Blaydon last Saturday, Fylde are still in with a shout of going up to the Championship, though Jersey are the clear favourites.
Standing in Fylde’s way tomorrow are bottom club Barking, who shocked Fylde with a 31-18 win when they travelled to the Woodlands earlier in the season.
Nelson wants Fylde to finish with a flourish, but also has an eye on next season.
He said: “It is a question of retaining and strengthening the team.
“To be able to compete at this level, we need a squad of up to 30 players to compete. That is the bare minimum, it is as straightforward as that.”
Fylde only have a small squad of players compared to other clubs at the top of the division, and the number was diminished when several decided to move on to clubs like Preston Grasshoppers and Caldy. Nelson wants to avoid a repeat of that for the 2012-13 campaign.
He said: “We want players to sign contracts committing themselves to the club before we start pre-season training.
“We don’t want a situation like this season, when players can leave in September or whenever because they don’t have contracts.
“If they want to leave the club for whatever reason, they have to negotiate a release from their contract.”
Fylde hope to have second row forward Gareth Rawlings back in the starting line-up tomorrow – he missed the Blaydon defeat because of a back injury.
Callum McShane comes in at scrum-half, getting the nod ahead of Martin Wallwork and Steve Depledge.
Fylde need to put behind them the shortcomings that were evident in the loss to Blaydon.
Nelson said: “If we under-performed last season we could rely on people like Nick Royle and Oli Brennand to get us out of jail. What last weekend shows is that that does not happen in National League One.”
Fylde (v Barking) C Briers; Royle, S Briers, Waywell, Brennand; Kenyon, McShane; Livesey, Roddam, Lavelle, Arnold, Rawlings, Stephenson, Stewart, S Beaumont. Replacements from: Griffiths, Loney, Altham, Ferguson, Viney, Depledge, Collins.