AFC Fylde defender happy to be back in pre-season training

Alex Whitmore was happy to catch up with his AFC Fylde team-mates as they returned to pre-season training ahead of the 2022/23 campaign.

The National League North fixtures are released at 9am today with Fylde facing a third season at that level after losing in the play-off semi-finals against Boston United last time around.

Pre-season training started last week as a new-look Coasters play their opening friendly at Atherton Collieries this Saturday before hosting FC Halifax Town next Tuesday.

Whitmore told the club website: “In the few short days we’ve been in you can feel the lads are ready for it, getting ready to go again for a solid 10 months of work.

AFC Fylde defender Alex Whitmore Picture: Steve McLellan

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“Some lads I know, some experienced lads, some youth: it’s always good to have that mix.

“You need a bit of both in the changing room. It was nice to see them and obviously, this week and next week will be tough and then the games start and you get to see what we’re really about.”

It will be the Coasters’ first full campaign under James Rowe as they look for promotion back to non-league’s top flight.

Rowe has reshaped the squad with Tom Walker their latest arrival at the end of last week.

He was the sixth new face following the arrivals of Curtis Weston, Pierce Bird, Jordan Cranston, Joe Rowley and Connor Barrett.

Whitmore added: “There’s five new teams this year in the league, some of them I’ve never played so they’re going to be up and at it.

“They’re going to be ready for that challenge and we’ve got to bring ourselves up to that level as well.

“It’s not about anybody else, it will be about us and we can push ourselves to where we want to be at the end of the season.”

Fylde have also paid tribute to Karl Newton after the club’s former head of player recruitment passed away.

A statement said: “Karl was a key figure at the club who helped recruit several first-team players and someone who has worked at Sheffield Wednesday, Middlesbrough and Leyton Orient, Stockport County and most recently, Blackburn Rovers.

“The thoughts of everyone at AFC Fylde are with Karl’s partner Louise and his family and friends at this unimaginably difficult time.”