AFC Fylde striker Danny Rowe believes Salford City will fear facing the Coasters in this afternoon’s National League play-off final.
The two sides only met in the league last month when Alex Reid’s goal at the Peninsula Stadium clinched a 1-0 win for the Coasters.
Salford had beaten Fylde 2-0 in September’s reverse fixture but 32-goal Rowe feels it will be a case of both sides believing the other fears them.
Speaking before the Coasters’ play-off wins against Harrogate Town and Solihull Moors, the striker said: “Salford are a team that, when they turned up here, they battered us.
“I think when we played them last month, we were the better team.
“I think they will think we fear them, we think they fear us. They are the only team (in the play-offs) I’d look at in that sort of way.
“I think a lot of teams fear playing us.”
Fylde lost the second fewest number of games in the National League with just nine defeats all season, a tally bettered only by the champions Leyton Orient (seven).
However, Dave Challinor’s players finished fifth in the division, eight points behind the O’s after drawing 15 matches; the most of any team in the top 14 places.
Rather than reflect on what might have been, Rowe is taking hope from the Coasters’ ability to avoid defeat.
He said: “You should not really look back at things, you need to keep looking forward.
“It is hard when you look at the table the teams towards the bottom of the table that we struggled to beat away from home.
“Every team that was relegated, we did not win at their places which is frustrating.
“You look and think, if you pick those points up – which we should have – we’d have comfortably won the league but we went into the play-offs not looking back.”
To go with Rowe’s goals Fylde also had the league’s third-best defensive record.
The Coasters only conceded 41 from their 46 games with only Wrexham (39) and Leyton Orient (35) shipping fewer during the season.
Rowe said: “This year we have been more solid defensively than we have ever been, that is a massive thing.
“If we have an off day going forward we look and think there is a good chance we can keep a clean sheet, where in previous years that was not the case.
“Looking at things like that we have gone into the play-offs looking forward.
“I don’t fear anyone in the play-offs.”