AFC Fylde boss Jim Bentley ready to make FA Cup progress 'the hard way' at Spennymoor
AFC Fylde make the long trek to Spennymoor Town for tonight’s FA Cup replay (7.45) knowing the reward for victory will be a more local affair at home to Chorley or Southport in the third qualifying round.
The County Durham side took the lead at Mill Farm on Saturday but were pegged back by Nick Haughton’s strike in this tie between two of National League North’s pacesetting clubs.
League leaders Fylde expect the North East rematch to be every bit as tough and manager Jim Bentley said: “To give the opposition credit, I thought James Curtis at centre-half was excellent at 39, and we won’t come across many better strikeforces in this league than Glen Taylor and Rob Ramshaw. They are a big, strong, physical side with loads of experience.
“With Covid, it’s over 18 months since we’ve been beaten at home and it was important that we kept that run going. On another day we’d have scored plenty more but they’ve had opportunities as well. Now we have to do it the hard way but we’ll give it our all on Tuesday.”
Southport and Chorley also replay at Haig Avenue tonight after a 2-2 draw – they meet for the third time in eight days in the league on Saturday – for the right to visit Fylde or Spennymoor on October 2.
Saturday’s draw reminded Bentley of the 2-1 home win over Southport last month, when his side again had to come back from behind.
He added: “In both games we got back on terms quickly after their goal. We’ve come back and shown that bit of resilience or bouncebackability as they used to call it.
“I was disappointed with the goal we conceded against Spennymoor, and if you do go a goal down it can become two and suddenly it’s an uphill battle. You could see the shot in the arm the opposition got from scoring. It can take the wind out of your sails and suddenly it’s a critical stage of the game.”
Jordan Hulme made his first appearance of the season up front after a six-game ban, a welcome boost to Fylde’s attacking options as Joe Piggott recovers from Covid.
Bentley added: “Joe lost a bit of weight. He has been back training this week but has been struggling to breathe at times, so it’s important we get him up to speed as soon as we can.”
Tonight’s replay is Fylde’s first evening game this season and Bentley said: “We aren’t used to going Saturday-Tuesday. It is a bit bizarre when you’ve gone so long without playing and most of the leagues are getting midweek fixtures in.
“We had the Monday game against Southport, when we went down to 10 men, and put in a proper shift to win the game.
“There’s a lot for us as a staff to take into consideration but come Tuesday night, whatever 11 goes out will be ready and raring to go to try to get us into the next round.”
Saturday’s tie saw the fifth and final Fylde appearance for Jacob Holland-Wilkinson, who has returned to Preston North End after a month’s loan.
He has been replaced by fellow Deepdale winger Ethan Walker, who made his debut off the bench against Spennymoor, also on a one-month loan.
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