AFC Fylde must improve to be number one says James Rowe

AFC Fylde ended pre-season on a winning note but boss James Rowe admits major improvements are needed to achieve their target of winning the National League North title.

By Andy Moore
Friday, 5th August 2022, 8:00 am

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After last season's play-off disappointment, Rowe is targeting top spot and wasn't entirely satisfied with last weekend's 2-1 win over Oldham – Fylde's last match before the league campaign begins at home to Kettering Town on Saturday.

The Coasters boss said: “There were some really good things and some not so good. We have to be honest about that and not think it's good enough because it's not.

Nick Haughton scored both goals for AFC Fylde against Oldham Picture: STEVE MCLELLAN

“It's nowhere near where we want to be because we want to be top this year.

“We can't be delusional and think that was a 90-minute performance where we hit the levels we want to because we didn't, and that culture we're in the process of changing.

I want to hammer home that our mindset needs to be better. We made too many individual errors and we would be punished in the league.”

Positives included the midfield combination of Joe Rowley and Nick Haughton, who scored both goals before half-time to seal the 2-1 win over the Latics.

“First half we completely dominated the play but got caught out a couple of times on transition,” said Rowe.

“Nick and Joe both did really well and caused numerous problems, and we looked a really good team.

“When we got round the back of them, we just needed better delivery or a better final decision and the scoreline would have been greater than 2-1.

“But second half they changed their shape and we took too long getting to grips with it. We had a good passage in the middle of the half but then fell away again.”

The match followed a tough test against Blackpool four days earlier as Fylde rounded off a satisfying pre-season.

“We have to thank David for allowing us to go to St Andrews for a great training week and allowing us to play a different type of opponent in Arbroath.

“Quite rightly we've played different opposition from different levels. You want to pit your wits against a team like Oldham at this stage because you want to go against the upper echelons of our league.”

“The team is in a good place and there were loads of positives. But to be number one come May 2023, small details must be better. “