AFC Fylde boss Jim Bentley ready to face challenge of Notts County and the Mill Farm pitch

Jim Bentley wants AFC Fylde to climb out of the relegation zone with victory over Notts County tonight
Jim Bentley wants AFC Fylde to climb out of the relegation zone with victory over Notts County tonight
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AFC Fylde are battling with their own pitch as they look to play flowing football and climb the National League table.

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The playing surface at Mill Farm has been deteriorating in recent weeks, and a brick wrapped in a towel has been discovered which had been blocking a drainage pipe.

Fylde boss Jim Bentley admits the situation is not ideal, but ahead of tonight’s home clash with Notts County (7.45pm) the manager says his players have to be versatile.

Boss Bentley said: “The pitch is shot, which is disappointing because we have a lot of talented footballers and we want to play the right way.

“I’ve said from day one that if a team stops you playing football, you’ve got to have something else in your make-up to try to win games.

“That may be a set-piece routine, which we’ve shown good evidence of. We’ve created chances.

“We want to be good on set-plays. We want to be good on the counter-attack.

“Sometimes we might have to go direct, depending on who we come up against and how they set up.

“Overall, we have footballers who want to play football, get it down and look good.

“There was good evidence of that, but the more and more the pitch cuts up the more difficult that becomes.

“It’s going from green to brown at the minute unfortunately because of the rain and the football that’s been played on it.

“The groundsman’s got a job on his hands.

“He does a fantastic job as it is and I can only speak highly of the ground staff, but they’ve got a right job on to try and keep this prepared and in as good a condition as possible to help us win a game of football.

“It’s now over to them and we’ll see how we do on Tuesday and on Saturday as well (when Torquay United are the visitors).”

The Magpies make their first ever tip to Mill Farm this evening, when victory will lift Fylde out of the bottom four.

The sides met for the first time in Nottingham in September, when County were 2-0 winners. They will remain fifth regardless of tonight’s outcome.

Fylde’s reward for their 4-1 win over Southport in the FA Trophy on Saturday is a third-round tie away to Dorking Wanderers or Stockport County.

Those teams replay at Stockport tonight after Saturday’s 1-1 draw at the National League South club’s Surrey base. Stockport won 2-1 at Fylde in the National League over Christmas.

Third-round ties are due to be played on Saturday, February 8.

BUILDBASE FA TROPHY THIRD ROUND DRAW: Ebbsfleet United v Royston Town, Concord Rangers or Bath City v Kingstonian or Leamington, Harrogate Town v Eastleigh. FC Halifax Town v Maidenhead United or Halesowen Town, Farsley Celtic or Barnet v Barrow, Dorking Wanderers or Stockport County v AFC Fylde, Aveley v Chelmsford City, Yeovil Town v Notts County