AFC Fylde owner will not rule out a play-off place this season

AFC Fylde owner David Haythornthwaite
AFC Fylde owner David Haythornthwaite
Share this article

AFC Fylde may be only two places above the National League relegation zone but owner David Haythornthwaite is not ruling out a promotion charge under new manager Jim Bentley.

Fylde never finished below the play-off positions in any of the four divisions they competed in during the past eight seasons under Dave Challinor, though they were in the bottom four of non-league football’s elite tier when he was sacked three weeks ago.

A draw in Bentley’s opening game at Maidenhead left Fylde 10 points behind Notts County in the final play-off spot and the chairman believes anything is still possible.

He told The Gazette: “Everyone was so disappointed about the way our season started because we wanted to finish top, but there are still 28 games to go.

“It’s a big play-off, with six teams involved, and no-one is running away with it.

“This league is wide open and a good run of six or seven games would put you right up there.”

This time last week the caretaker duo of John Hills and Brett Ormerod were preparing their Fylde side for Boreham Wood, where they picked up three precious points to follow the 6-1 FA Cup win over Peterborough Sports the previous weekend.

Asked if he was tempted to persevere with the temporary duo for longer after their encouraging start, Haythornthwaite said: “History is littered with clubs who have jumped in and appointed caretakers, but that is to take nothing away from what John and Brett did for us.

“John is disappointed but we were up front from the start in saying it was a short-term arrangement.

“But they gave 100 per cent and we could not have asked for more. It stands them in good stead for the future.”