AFC Fylde boss looks forward to Dagenham and Redbridge test

Fylde striker Kurt Willoughby is undergoing rehabilitation after his hernia operation       Picture: Steve McLellan
Fylde striker Kurt Willoughby is undergoing rehabilitation after his hernia operation Picture: Steve McLellan
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Jim Bentley is expecting a challenging game tomorrow against a “well-rounded” Dagenham and Redbridge side.

AFC Fylde go into the game having surrendered their five-game unbeaten run, losing 3-1 at Solihull Moors, and face a stern test at Mill Farm.

The Daggers won 6-1 last time out against Aldershot and went one better than Solihull by scoring four times in the opening 25 minutes.

Bentley has spoken several times since taking over as Fylde boss about injecting fresh faces into his side and he thinks the Daggers are a prime example of the impact such new arrivals can have.

“Sometimes a couple of players can make a difference,” he explained.

“They’ve had a couple of new players in and they’ve had a fantastic performance.

“We’ve had a look over them and there are some good goals in there.

“They’re not all very similar – there’s good combination play, there was a set-play, a direct free-kick and a long-range effort.

“So they’re well rounded as a team. The subs came on and affected the game as well, getting goals.

“You look at them on paper and they’re a decent outfit with a top manager, an ex-England manager (Peter Taylor). It will be a tough game but they all are.

“We’re at home and we want to get back on track. We need the result to get ourselves up and running. We’re looking forward to it.”

There are a few injury concerns for the Coasters but thankfully only one (Kurt Willoughby) is long-term.

Fylde recently welcomed back skipper Lewis Montrose and Bentley is looking forward to being able to choose from a full squad in what he sees as the biggest week of the season, with a visit to Wrexham to follow next Tuesday.

The manager said: “Nick Haughton is struggling a bit with his groin but he’s coming back now. He might be in time to play but we’ll assess him.

“Andy Taylor is another one with a groin problem. Again, it’s not a long-term and probably not even medium-term – more like a week or two.

“James Montgomery (keeper) is another one. He had an ongoing groin problem before we got to the club, so he’s resting up at the minute but he should be back in the next week or two.

“Kurt Willoughby’s had an (hernia) operation. He’s making progress. It’s gone well and he’s in his rehab stage.

“The sooner we get them all back, then grea. If we get a fully fit squad to pick from that’s even better for me.

“If someone’s not fit, as we always say, the door opens for someone else.

“They should be champing at the bit to get on that pitch on Saturday.

“For me, this is the biggest week of the season so far for the club. We’ve got two tasty games in the league and then the FA Cup game the following Saturday (away to Greater London club Kingstonian of the Isthmian League).

“It’s a big week for us and we want to embrace the challenge.”

Bentley is constantly looking at ways to improve his side and he wants to make the Coasters more clinical.

He explained: “I’ve seen things in the squad, little bits of an imbalance in certain positions.

“I’ve seen issues with confidence. Looking over the goals and the stats, we’ve conceded too many and haven’t taken enough chances.

“Saturday’s game summed it up a little bit, in regards to the goals we conceded and the chances we created.

“One of the people at Solihull said that if it was a boxing match it would have been stopped because we were so far on top for 60 minutes.

“We’re doing okay but there are things that we’re working on. There are areas that we’ve identified for improvement moving forward.”