AFC Fylde boss Jim Bentley boosted by free weekend ahead of Curzon Ashton test

Striker Jordan Hulme has played on with an injuryStriker Jordan Hulme has played on with an injury
Striker Jordan Hulme has played on with an injury
Manager Jim Bentley revealed how his AFC Fylde side managed to turn the disappointment of last weekend’s postponement into a positive ahead of tonight’s return to action at Curzon Ashton (7.45).
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Saturday’s home clash with Boston United was called off on the morning of the game after a player at the Lincolnshire club tested positive for coronavirus.

The Coasters had been hoping to continue their unbeaten start to the National League North campaign and Bentley said: “We were looking forward to a game on Saturday, so we were a little disappointed.

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“I think this is going to be the way that the league pans out for everyone, with lockdowns and isolated Covid issues, so what you have to do is look for the positives.

“We’ve been carrying a few niggles from the sheer amount of games we’ve had to play in such a short space of time.

“Jordan Hulme has been carrying a bit of a groin injury. We’ve had a few players who have been running on empty.

Nathan Pond has had an issue and we were concerned about the Saturday-Tuesday schedule for him, so what we’ve done is make the best of the situation by topping the lads up on Saturday with an in-house game and managed the ones we needed to manage.”

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Another positive on Saturday was that second-placed Fylde remained within a point of leaders Gloucester City, who were held to an eye-opening 4-4 draw by Bradford Park Avenue.

It means the lead could change hands tonight if Fylde win at Curzon and Gloucester don’t away to mid-table Hereford. But Bentley won’t underestimate the Ashton-under-Lyne side, who recorded their second win of the season on Saturday.

He added: “Curzon Ashton have some very capable players, and got a really good win against Kettering Town on Saturday in tough conditions. We are expecting a really tough game.

“They will be back at home on a much better pitch and will be looking to build on the positive result at the weekend.”

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And the Coasters boss has had a short time to prepare for very different opponents to Boston. “We have had to adapt because on Saturday we prepared for the Boston game and then got the late call that it would be postponed,” he explained

“Both teams play completely differently. Curzon Ashton play in a different formation and have a different playing philosophy, so we’ve had to change our match preparation pretty quickly.

“We know that we will have to go there and mix it up a bit. We can play, everybody is aware of that, but it will be important that we battle and defend the box well.

“We’ve proven that we can do that up until now. In the games where we’ve needed to stand up and be counted we’ve done that, so we will need to do that again on Tuesday.”

Jim Bentley was talking to JOE DAVIS.

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Tonight in National League North: AFC Telford v Chorley, Brackley v Kidderminster, Bradford PA v Southport, Curzon Ashton v AFC Fylde, Guiseley v Darlington, Hereford v Gloucester, Leamington v Alfreton, Spennymoor v Blyth Spartans.

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