AFC Fylde skipper Neill Byrne wants to forget Wembley woe by beating Salford City in promotion play-off final

AFC Fylde skipper Neill Byrne
AFC Fylde skipper Neill Byrne

The hurt of losing a Wembley final is still with AFC Fylde skipper Neill Byrne but he is brushing that pain aside as he bids to lead the Coasters to League Two by beating Salford City.

The 26-year-old was part of the Macclesfield Town side that lost 3-2 to York City in the FA Trophy final in 2017.

Byrne already has one shot at avenging that heartbreak when the Coasters take on Leyton Orient in the Trophy next weekend.

First, though, he has the club’s main aim to attend to: promotion.

Fylde are one win away from reaching the Football League for the first time in their history.

Salford City stand in their way, and having tasted defeat at the home of football once before, Byrne is determined to avoid defeat.

He said: “Obviously, in any game, you do not want to see any team celebrating; you want to be victorious.

“It is not just you that wants to get promoted it is your family, your friends.

“It has always stuck with me that we (Macclesfield) went there and we did not do as well as we wanted to do.

“You brush that aside, realise it is a new game of football, a fresh start and one we are really confident going into it.

“Salford will feel like they can be victorious but we do too.

“It is the sort of game you sign on the dotted line for and want to play in but I cannot say during the game you are going to enjoy it.

“If you win you look back on it and enjoy it a hell of a lot more.

“The football is not, during that game, as enjoyable as people think it should be looking from the outside in.

“It is just what you are doing, you do not switch off for a second.

“Your concentration is on what is on hand so you do not have time to enjoy it.”

Byrne joined the Coasters from Gateshead last summer and could cap his first season on the Fylde coast with two trophies.

He believes he is playing some of the best football of his career to date and credits Fylde boss Dave Challinor for getting the best out of him.

He said: “This season I have been playing some of my best football; I’d have to put that down to him (Challinor).

“I always feel as a player when you are going well and playing well you hold those managers in high regard.

“Whether we get promotion or not he has to go down as one of the great managers I have worked with.

“In terms of feeling more experienced, listening to a manager and taking in what they are saying with the formations and effort, tactical nous in football he is up there with the best managers I have worked with.”