AFC Fylde boss to rest and rotate for FC Halifax Town encounter?

AFC Fylde boss Dave Challinor has hinted he may rest some of his key players this weekend in preparation for their play-off eliminator.

Friday, 26th April 2019, 3:00 pm
AFC Fylde could play Salford City again after beating them on Monday	                      Picture: Steve McLellan
AFC Fylde could play Salford City again after beating them on Monday Picture: Steve McLellan

The Coasters welcome FC Halifax Town to Mill Farm on Saturday for their final game of the regular season.

Other than fourth or fifth place, Fylde have very little to play for as a play-off place is already sewn up.

Challinor has already admitted Fylde’s focus is on their play-off eliminator, where they will face either Eastleigh or Harrogate Town at Mill Farm next week.

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He told The Gazette: “The lads who didn’t play at Salford will get the chance to play on Saturday and they’ve got to do everything they can to keep hold of their shirt. That’s where the motivation has to be.

“I think you can overthink things a little bit. Ultimately our biggest game is Wednesday or Thursday.

“Saturday is not an irrelevance, it’s not a game we don’t want to win, but it’s just a game we’ve got to play.

“But, being straight, our focus is on the game next week in the play-offs.

“With Wrexham playing Harrogate, I’ve no idea if they’re going to rest all their players or if Eastleigh will do the same at Boreham Wood.

“So we’ve just got to play the game, but we won’t risk anyone who is potentially carrying a knock and the likelihood is we’ll make some changes.

“If we’re going to get out of this division, ultimately you need to beat the best teams and we know we’re going to have to win a game at home, a game away from home and then the final at Wembley.

“Who the opposition is, we don’t know, but we’re preparing for three really tough games.”

If Fylde do make it to the play-off final at Wembley, they will have to come through a play-off eliminator at Mill Farm before then facing either Salford City or Solihull Moors away.

“We’d love to be playing both play-off games here but we’re not, so you have to deal with it,” Challinor added.

“We’d much rather play at home than away but we’ve shown we can go away and win, so it’s an improvement on last year in terms of the schedule more than anything.

“We knew we’d be going to Boreham Wood and if we won that we’d be going to Sutton United a few days later, which we knew would be a big ask.

“It’s different this year because the sides who will finish second and third are both northern teams, which for ourselves makes things much easier. To be here in the first eliminator game is a big advantage to us.”

Saturday’s opponents Halifax also have little play for, with the Shaymen sitting in 16th in the National League table, 15 points clear of the bottom four.

“It will be a tough game, they’ve had a decent run,” Challinor said.

“James Hardy went out on loan there and did well and they’ve had a decent run of results.

“They’ve brought in some loan players who have provided them with goals and have seen them safe this season.

“It’s an end-of-season game and they’ll want to go out on a high and look to give themselves some momentum going into next season.

“For us it’s an opportunity for some lads to go and play who didn’t feature on Monday to push themselves into our plans.

“We’re carrying momentum at the moment so it’s a game we want to win, so hopefully we can keep it going into the play-offs.”