AFC Fylde boss Jim Bentley understood the reason behind Notts County postponement

Jim Bentley admitted to some frustration after his side’s midweek National League clash with Notts County was postponed.

Friday, 17th January 2020, 6:00 am
Jim Bentley’s AFC Fylde squad are due to host Torquay United tomorrow Picture: Steve McLellan

The pitch at Mill Farm has come under scrutiny of late with the club having released a statement last week to say the first team pitch had been sabotaged with a brick placed into the drainage system to prevent water escaping.

The surface at Fylde has deteriorated in recent weeks and has been below the usual standard, with Bentley saying it doesn’t help his side to play the style of football that they would like to.

Heavy rain along the Fylde coast saw to Tuesday’s game, with the fixture yet to be rearranged.

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The AFC Fylde boss wanted to carry the momentum from Saturday’s FA Trophy win over Southport into the game but valued player safety above all else.

He also emphasised that he does not blame the groundstaff for the current condition of the pitch.

Bentley told The Gazette: “It’s a little bit frustrating. We’d just won on Saturday, we were looking forward to the game but you can’t do anything about the weather.

“We’ve had an unbelievable amount of rain, the pitch isn’t in the best nick from Saturday’s game.

“What’s important, first and foremost, is player safety. The other thing is that it’s only one bad game away from finishing it off (the pitch) because it’s not been in great nick.

“I think the right decision was made because the ball wouldn’t bounce or roll.

“You can’t do anything about it, it is what is and you move on.

“The groundsman does a great job, I speak to him regularly.

“He does a great job there and down at Kellamergh (Park) as well.

“He’s put his heart and soul into it and he’s tried his very best; even right up until the referee coming, he was forking away.

“He’s tried different stuff on it the last couple of days after the Saturday game.

“The groundstaff have done everything they can.

“I don’t know the ins and outs of how the grounds work, I’ve no expertise in that.

“From my point of view, I’ve seen it before – game on Saturday, condition of the pitch and the weather all contribute to it unfortunately not being fit on the night.”

The unplanned Tuesday off means Bentley had to switch his focus to Saturday’s home game with Torquay United.

That sees the one-time Morecambe manager up against another former EFL boss in Gary Johnson.

Johnson was manager of Yeovil Town in 2013 as the Glovers won promotion to the Championship, after he had already guided them into the Football League in 2003.

Torquay go into the game sitting 15th in the National League, eight points ahead of the Coasters but having played two more games.

Bentley said: “It’ll be a tough game, we’re doing our work on them.

“It’s a quick turnaround. We had Notts County in our heads, now it’s all eyes on Torquay.

“It’s a home game, I think they’ve made a signing or two and he’s a very experienced manager that I’ve come up against a time or two before.

“I know how his teams work, we’re expecting a tough game but, if we go about our business in the right way, we’re a match for anyone.

“We’ve had some very strong performances. Saturday was a good performance and I still believe there is more to come.

“We’re trying to get one or two players in to strengthen us further. Everyone is positive and looking forward to the game.”