AFC Fylde will be in good shape thanks to their tough pre-season workout

AFC Fylde continue their demanding pre-season programme at home to League Two club Rochdale tomorrow but the tough schedule is exactly what manager Jim Bentley wanted.

By Andy Moore
Friday, 23rd July 2021, 8:00 am

The Coasters have already faced EFL clubs Blackburn Rovers and Wigan Athletic this month, losing to the only goal on each occasion.

Bentley’s squad have focused on defending in their pre-season sessions so far, so matches against higher-level opposition have provided ample opportunity to apply that training to a match situation.

Bentley told the club website: “These are the games that will prepare us.

AFC Fylde met Wigan Athletic in midweek Picture: Steve McLellan

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AFC Fylde enjoy a winning end to their pre-season training camp

“Wigan had the ball for long spells on Tuesday and had a fired-up starting XI, knowing most of them would come off at half-time.

“We didn’t make changes at half-time. We got a lot of minutes into players in a tough game against top-class League One opposition.

“We expect exactly the same at Rochdale They will be one of the fancied sides to bounce back from League Two.

“They are in our plans because we know it will be a really good test for us. We’ll embrace the challenge and keep working on the areas we need to.”

Last weekend’s game at Welsh premier club Cefn Druids brought some contrast to Fylde’s pre-season schedule and a 5-1 victory.

Bentley added: “You don’t want to play all EFL clubs because you won’t get much opportunity to attack and create chances – but you don’t want to be playing lesser opposition every week either and getting ahead of yourself by scoring five or six every game.

“So we’ve planned it how we have to get what we need out of each game.”

Fylde’s friendlies to date have seen them tested defensively from set-pieces.

That’s precisely what Bentley wanted and he is sure it will stand them in good stead in the National League North season.

He added: “We’ve done work on our shape and set-plays.

“Teams we play this season may think, ‘We’re not going to out-football Fylde. They are a full-time outfit and they’re fit, so we’ll try to hit them with a set-play’.

“The friendlies have given us a chance to fine-tune things defensively and we know what we’re doing.

“I’d like to see us do a little more going the other way but we haven’t really touched on attacking play in training yet because we thought it was going to be Barnsley, Blackburn, Wigan (though the first of those games was cancelled).

“We’ll do more work on our attacking play as we move forward and I’m sure we’ll see evidence of that in pre-season games to come.”

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