AFC Fylde agree on new assistant manager to stand in for Jim Bentley

AFC Fylde have identified a new assistant manager who will take the reins while Jim Bentley recuperates after heart surgery.

Tuesday, 21st July 2020, 8:00 am
Jim Bentley will have a new assistant for the first time in his managerial career when he returns to work at AFC Fylde after heart surgery Picture: STEVE MCLELLAN

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And the club has confirmed that Bentley will be back in charge as soon as he has fully recovered from a heart bypass.

Chief executive Jonty Castle confirmed that agreement had been reached on a new second-in-command for Bentley, whose longserving deputy Kenny McKenna has parted company with the club – McKenna had assisted Bentley ever since his managerial career began at Morecambe nine years ago.

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The club revealed last month that Bentley, 44, requires a bypass because of a blocked artery, though the Coasters boss was still awaiting a date for his operation last week.

Speaking to BBC Radio Lancashire last week, Castle said that the club hoped to announce “a brilliant appointment” as assistant manager this week.

The Fylde chief said of Bentley: “He went into hospital last week to have some tests done and we’re just waiting for that operation date to come though.

“I speak to him daily and he’s just keen to get it sorted now, get back to 100 per cent and get going.

“Jim will be with us next season, and we’re 100 per cent committed to getting him fit and back on the touchline as soon as possible.”

However, it may well be that Fylde start the campaign – hopefully in September – with a new temporary boss while Bentley takes it easy after major surgery.

Castle added: “There is a period of rehabilitation. We are at the latter stages of appointing a number two who is more than capable of standing in for Jim in Jim’s absence.

“We don’t know how long that recovery will take but we have every confidence in the person we have identified and Jim has too.

“It is somebody Jim has chosen in agreement with myself and David (Haythornthwaite, chairman).

“We have every confidence the individual will be able to take charge of the team and keep things moving while Jim recovers.

“As soon as Jim is ready to get back to it, Jim will take charge immediately.”

Fylde are resigned to the fact that Bentley will be taking charge of a relegated club, who will be viewed as a real scalp by other ambitious rivals in National League North.

Castle added: “Our facilities are second to none – they are Football League facilities. Teams will want to come and will see us as one of the teams to beat. But we are looking at it as an opportunity. We’ve accepted our circumstances.

“Last season was one no-one wants to see again. We’ve put changes in place and there’s more to be done, but we’re confident that next season we’ll come out fighting.

“We are keeping a positive approach and are desperate to find out when the league will start again.

“We are just waiting now on what is the proposed start date, what it looks like for making the facilities Covid-secure, then getting pre-season going and getting a really good squad together that will hopefully get us straight out of this league.”