Dave Challinor hopes his AFC Fylde team will reap the rewards of James Hardy’s unforgettable week when they welcome Boston United to Mill Farm tomorrow.
Hardy made his international bow for England C in Estonia on Tuesday, setting up both goals to help his country win through to next year’s International Challenge Trophy final in Slovakia with a 2-1 win.
The attacker was back in training with league leaders Fylde yesterday and has been challenged to keep up the good work against tomorrow’s Lincolnshire visitors.
Challinor said: “Representing his country was a new experience for James and one that can only benefit him in terms of his confidence.
“James enjoyed it and did well. He started the game and made an impact, which is what we’ve spoken to him about here. “
With Blackpool loanee Macauley Wilson also back in training yesterday after illness earlier in the week, Challinor will have a fully fit squad to select from this weekend bar Caspar Hughes, who should be available within the next two weeks.
With no midweek match, this is the sort of week in which Challinor should most feel the benefits of a full-time squad. However, the manager admitted: “Unluckily our chance to work a bit more coincided with the weather taking a turn for the worse, which hasn’t been ideal and we have been scrambling around a bit.
“But we had a good session on Thursday and hopefully will get another on Friday.”
Tomorrow’s opponents are used to competing with Fylde in the upper reaches of the league but find themselves 14th after a mixed start.
But Challinor stresses they cannot be taken lightly. He added: “They have been in the play-off picture in past seasons but have had a big turnaround of players over the summer. It’s always difficult when your squad is decimated and you have to start again from scratch.”
Last weekend Boston challenged Vanarama National North’s team of the moment Brackley, who knocked Gillingham out of the FA Cup to earn a visit to Blackpool in a fortnight.
Challinor said: “Boston came back from 3-0 down against Brackley to 3-2 and they missed a penalty.
“But the most important thing for us is to back up last week’s draw (in the clash of the top two at 1883 Darlington). If we do so, that point becomes a very useful one.”
n Fylde have been drawn away at Clitheroe in the quarter-finals of the Partners Foundation Lancashire FA Challenge Trophy.
The Coasters, who beat AFC Darwen 6-2 to reach this stage, take on a Clitheroe team that defeated AFC Blackpool 4-2.
Draw: Daisy Hill v Chorley; Radcliffe Borough v West Didsbury & Chorlton or Padiham; Ashton Athletic v Atherton Laburnum Rovers; Clitheroe vs AFC Fylde.
The ties will be played in the week beginning December 5.
n Luke Swindlehurst has left his post as manager of Fylde Ladies to pursue a new role in the game.