AFC Fylde boss Jim Bentley makes most of extra preparation time for FA Cup clash with Altrincham
Everything is unusual at these times but AFC Fylde boss Jim Bentley has tried to keep preparations for Sunday’s big match against Altrincham in the FA Cup as normal as possible.
Bentley’s Coasters won four games in the first 11 days of the season but have since been forced into an 11-day break before this weekend’s fourth qualifying round tie at Mill Farm.
The wait between matches can’t have helped Fylde’s early-season momentum but Bentley told The Gazette they are fully prepared and motivated to face the team who replaced them in the National League, with a place in the first round proper at stake.
The Fylde boss said: “The preparations this week have been slightly different because we’re not used to playing on a Sunday but it’s the FA Cup so there will be no problems getting up for the game.
“We played Altrincham only recently (a 2-2 draw in Fylde’s final pre-season game a month ago). We respect them and we know they are a good side but we want to progress and that’s our plan.
“We’ve used the time well. We gave the players a couple of days off but also did some good work and some analysis work, so we’re all geared up to try to win the game.
“We’ve been preparing not just for this game but for a batch of games coming up.
“We’ve won four out of four and it’s always about improving and getting your thoughts into the players. They are showing really good signs of taking information on board.”
The tie has been pushed back to Sunday (1pm kick-off) to allow all staff at Altrincham to complete a 14-day isolation period under coronavirus guidelines.
The National League North play-off winners last played a fortnight ago and are awaiting their first win after three games in non-league’s top tier.
But neither the competition nor the opposition will alter Bentley’s preparations greatly. He added: “I approach an FA Cup game just the same as a league game really. Obviously when you are playing a team from a higher division you will prepare a little bit differently and work on your defensive play, but we are happy that we can perform to the best of our ability and we’re looking forward to it.
“One player who will be extra-motivated is (Fylde’s new striker) Jordan Hulme. He won promotion with Altrincham last season and was still playing for them until a few weeks ago. He is settling in and showing really good signs.”
Another player who could be involved on Sunday is Reagle Ogle, the Australian full-back newly arrived from Accrington Stanley.
Bentley said: “Reagan can play on either side of the field and he knows the National League with Southport.
“He is a determined player, a good character and we’ve signed him at a good age (21). I’m pleased to have him because it’s one area we were a little light. He’s keen, knows the level and I’m sure he will do OK.”