AFC Fylde boss Jim Bentley puts faith in 'bare bones' squad for FA Trophy tie with Gateshead
AFC Fylde boss Jim Bentley insists he will treat tomorrow’s FA Trophy clash with Gateshead no differently to a league game, though he will make changes to his side for the Mill Farm clash.
The second-round tie comes just four weeks after the clubs’ league meeting in Wesham, which Fylde won 2-0, and Bentley insists they won’t take the competition lightly.
Having exited the FA Cup at the first hurdle against Spennymoor Town in September, Coasters manager Bentley would welcome a run in the Trophy, which the club won at Wembley three seasons ago.
He said: “ We have a couple of players carrying little niggles. We are missing key players with injury and we’ve pulled (striker) Owen Robinson back from loan at Warrington Rylands but is cup-tied this weekend.
“We’re stretched but it’s part and parcel of the game and we can’t do anything about it. We have a week to recover for Gateshead.
“We will probably make changes because a couple need bringing out of the firing line and a couple are champing at the bit to stake a claim.
“We are down to the bare bones but the big thing is that we have trust in the players to produce whoever is selected.
“But just like we wanted a run in the FA Cup, we want to beat Gateshead in the Trophy.
“Ultimately our aim is to get out of this division but it’s a welcome distraction and if we win, great. It’s a big game and we’ll give it our best shot.”
There may be another opportunity in goal for Bobby Jones, who made a 20th-birthday debut at AFC Telford United last weekend and helped Fylde respond to back-to-back away defeats with a 2-1 success.
Summer signing Jones made a successful step into the breach after Chris Neal was granted time away from the club for family reasons.
Bentley added: “Chris has been back with us this week and has trained really well, but Bobby has also impressed and deserved his chance.
“They are both pushing each other and that’s the sort of competition we want throughout the squad.”
Jones joined Fylde from Wigan Athletic, who have now agreed to extend Kieran Lloyd’s loan stay at Mill Farm until the New Year.
The latest loan defender to plug the gap left by right-back Luke Burke, who is recovering from injury, Lloyd had been an ever-present since signing a one-month deal and has started Fylde’s last five games.
That deal now runs until January 2, with Lloyd available for the derby trip to Chorley on that date.
Bentley said: “Burkey is still out and Kieran has done well in the games he’s played.
“He has put in some really strong performances and is learning all the time.
He has acquitted himself really well and is enjoying his time with us so it made sense to extend the deal.”
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