AFC Fylde boss Dave Challinor revealed he did not want to draw Leyton Orient in the FA Trophy semi-final as Coasters wait to see if they will face Stockport County or Maidstone United

Dave Challinor
Dave Challinor
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AFC Fylde boss Dave Challinor revealed he did not want to draw Leyton Orient in the FA Trophy semi-final as the Coasters prepare to find out if they will face Stockport County or Maidstone United in the last four.

AFC Fylde boss Dave Challinor revealed he did not want to draw Leyton Orient in the FA Trophy semi-final as the Coasters prepare to find out if they will face Stockport County or Maidstone United in the last four.

Challinor’s side beat Barnet 4-1 on penalties on Saturday and now face the winners of tonight’s replay between relegation-battling Maidstone and National League North promotion hopefuls Stockport.

Had the Coasters drawn Orient, then they would have faced them three times in the space of 11 days.

The semi-final first leg is on March 16, the second on March 23 and they face Orient in the league on March 26.

Challinor said: “It does not make any difference for me, but if I was picking any team to avoid, it would have been Leyton Orient.

“That is not because they are up there at the top of our division and are potentially the favourites to win it; it is because we play them in the league.

“We rearranged our league game with them for the week after the semi-finals, so we would have ended up playing them three times in a week which would have been a bit of overload to be honest.

“The draw is what it is, it is not like you are hoping for a home tie.

“It is a two-legged semi-final and it is an odd one; I have only been part of that once as a player in the League Cup.

“It is a strange thing as it does not happen often but we are two games from Wembley.”

Challinor also explained why the Coasters opted to finish their Trophy tie with Barnet on the day rather than go to a midweek replay.

He said: “In fairness the FA introduced the rule a couple of years ago about giving the option to decide on the day.

“We chose to do it last year when we played Chester and lost on penalties.

“This year, in every round, we put forward finishing it on the day but we were playing against teams from lower divisions that wanted to go to replays.

“Stratford and Biggleswade, we took care of in one day, but Ramsbottom went to a replay.

“When you are competing on different fronts it just makes sense for the games to be completed on the same day.

“It is not as if there is a huge amount of money in the trophy in terms of fans.

“It is not like the FA Cup tie where, if you are playing against someone from a higher division, if you take it to a replay you can end up making quite a bit of money.

“There is no real benefit to it.

“With ourselves having something to play for and Barnet behind with their games it made sense to decide it on the day.

“We knew that going into it and thankfully we progressed and won.”

Challinor would be surprised if promotion-chasing Stockport had not wanted the same last weekend as they have a clash with promotion rivals Spennymoor Town to prepare for on Saturday.

The Fylde boss says all teams have something outside of the Trophy to play for with Maidstone battling at the wrong end of their division.

He said: “I have no doubt they (Stockport) would have wanted to finish the game on Saturday and play extra time and penalties.

“I would be surprised if they didn’t because they have a big game against Spennymoor; a massive game in their division as, with most of the teams left, their aim will be promotion and they will not want the Trophy to distract them from the league form.

“But if they win, like us, they would be two games from Wembley.

“Maidstone have got their own issues in terms of staying in our division.

“All the teams that are left have an awful lot to play for in their leagues.”