AFC Fylde manager Jim Bentley prepares for tough Christmas tests ahead

Kurt Willoughby scored twice when the Coasters lost at Yeovil Town this season                   Picture: Steve McLellan
Kurt Willoughby scored twice when the Coasters lost at Yeovil Town this season Picture: Steve McLellan
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Jim Bentley is not looking too far ahead as his AFC Fylde side goes into the busy Christmas schedule.

Fylde start off by hosting high-flying Yeovil Town, who sit second in the National League, on Saturday (3pm).

The Glovers’ visit is shortly followed by a trip to leaders Barrow for the toughest back-to-back pairing the Coasters could have asked for.

Bentley’s focus is only on one game at the moment.

“That’s the most important game, the next one,” he said.

“Yeovil at home, second in the league, a few good players in their ranks that I know from my time at Morecambe and seeing them.

“A couple of others, the likes of Rhys Murphy at the moment is on fire, one of the top centre-forwards in the league.

“We know it’ll be a tough game, they’re not second in the league for any other reason than they are a good side.

“We’re looking forward to it, it’ll be a tough game but as always we’ll embrace the challenge and try and win it.”

The treatment room at Mill Farm is currently empty, except for a few bumps and bruises picked up along the way, which will help the Coasters’ team selections.

Jordan Williams is still suspended after picking up a red card against Sutton United but Kurt Willoughby may soon be an option.

The summer signing from FC United of Manchester has had an operation on a hernia but the Fylde boss is excited by the qualities he brings to the side.

“One thing that we probably need to look at in this team is athleticism, power and pace,” Bentley explained.

“We want to get a bit more of that in our make-up and Kurt brings that.

“We’re now looking at him in training, he offers something different to everyone else.

“We’ve watched over his clips from the season and he got a couple of goals against Yeovil last time out.

“Whether it’s too early for him so far, as he’s only been back three days, he’s going to give us an option over this period.

“We are a bit light up top, it is an area we are trying to improve.

“There has been a lot of reliance on Danny Rowe to get goals, Jordan Williams has done well but he’s still got another two games on his suspension.

“We’re depleted a little bit but we still have the likes of Yeatesy (Mark Yeates), Nick Haughton, Matty Kosylo, Dan Bradley, that are chipping in.

“But they’re different players, they’re not out-and-out centre-forwards.

“So that is an area we are looking to improve and Kurt will give us that hopefully sooner rather than later.”

Bentley is also looking towards January as he may be able to cast his net a little wider in order to tempt players to the Fylde coast.

“We’ve been looking already because we’ve wanted to try and improve the squad from day one,” he said.

“We’ve gone after a couple of players in different positions and it’s been a bit difficult, whether it be financially or dropping down a level; whatever it may be, we haven’t been able to do it so far.

“That doesn’t mean we don’t continue to have a little look and what you find with the league sides is they don’t need to let anyone go to leave themselves short.

“Things start opening up a little bit when you do get to January and the window opens in the league and there is a knock-on effect.

“The pool that you’re picking from could become bigger and easier to pick from.

“That is something we’re looking at, in regards to our style of play we have a lot of technically gifted players.

“On Saturday we probably had about 80 per cent possession but only went in behind one or two times, so we need to be rounded as a team.

“We don’t want to rely on just being total football and playing in front of teams because they will work us out.”