Challinor plans for Fylde’s future in National League

Dave Challinor
Dave Challinor
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A celebration and a summit meeting about the future are the next items on the agenda for triumphant AFC Fylde manager Dave Challinor.

The Coasters’ boss and his squad are rightly basking in the glory of attaining the Vanarama National League North title and with it elevation to the fifth tier of English football, which will bring more challenges.

With that very much in mind, Challinor was due to have a sit down today to discuss the way forward with chairman David Haythornthwaite and chief executive Neil Joy.

Tomorrow there will be a party atmosphere at Mill Farm as AFC Fylde finish the season with a home match against Worcester when Challinor will not just be satisfied with a win, but expects his team to perform ‘like champions’.

He added: “We want to go out for the season in style.”

Meantime, Challinor has already pinpointed areas where he sees the squad can be strengthened in time for life in the National League in 2017-18.

Challinor has already drawn up a list of potential targets and this was one of several areas up for discussion.

He refused to go into detail by naming names or putting a figure on how many new recruits he would ideally like to see.

But he did say that the main focus would be on strengthening the Coasters’ defence.

Challinor said: “Planning for next season started months back really and we have to be proactive.

“I will be sitting down with the chairman to see where we are and what our aspirations are because it is a big leap upwards for the club.

“We are going up into a league with a lot of big name teams and we have to make sure that we get the right sort of players for the right reasons.

“There are a lot of things that we will be discussed, including whether we will get bigger gates than we have been used to this season.

“Maybe the answer to that is ‘no’ because the league we are going into is quite southern-orientated and it looks like there will be 15 or 16 overnight stops, and on the flip-side, it is the same for clubs coming to play us.”

Challinor says that in an ideal world he would like to have a full squad of players at his disposal by the end of May in time for the start of pre-season in July, though he admits that would be a tall order and an example, in his words, of ‘blue sky thinking.’

If the mood is celebratory for Fylde on and off the pitch, then it is crucial for the visitors.

Worcester City need a point to avoid the drop, depending on other results.

The Midlanders are marooned in the relegation-zone, one point adrift of Gainsboorugh Trinity, who are at FC United; Worcester must better Trinity’s result to stay up.