AFC Fylde manager Dave Challinor will tell his players ‘Be ready for a battle’ as they prepare to face Dover Athletic in the Vanarama National League on Saturday.
The Coasters make their first visit to the Kent club, who are arguably the most consistent team in the fifth tier of English football.
Dover, under long-serving manager Chris Kinnear, are once again in and around the promotion area.
Until Tuesday night they were top of the standings before they were relegated to second spot and replaced at the summit by Wrexham, who have twice lost to Fylde this season,
While Fylde were suffering the disappointment of having their match with Guiseley postponed, Dover saw their impressive, 11-match unbeaten record come to an end with a 1-0 loss to Dagenham and Redbridge.
Challinor is under no illusion about how hard it will be.
He said: “Dover have been on a really good run and they are an experienced team at this level. We know we will be in for a battle. Dover are, in a way, unique in the way they like to play.
“They tend to man-mark in every area and make sure there are one-to-one battles all over the pitch. They are also dangerous at set-pieces.
“Even when they do lose players at the end of a season, they bring others in who immediately know what kind of job is required of them.
“We know it will be tough but we have to back ourselves to be able to deal with it.”
Challinor reports no fresh injury concerns for the visit to Crabble,.
Fylde will be without Jack Muldoon, who is serving the second of a three-match ban.
Included in the Fylde squad for the visit to Kent is striker Andy Mangan, who is on loan from National League rivals Tranmere Rovers.
But Mangan is not available for the second round FA Cup-tie a week tonight against Wigan Athletic.
Challinor said: “He can’t play because he’s cup-tied. He came on as a substitute for Tranmere against Halifax for all of 25 seconds!”
The Fylde pitch may need remedial work after the postponement of the Guiseley match. It followed the abandonment of last month’s match against Maidstone.
Challinor said: “The surface in places is very firm and water there is not going into the drains for some reason.
“There is no quick fix and it is something we will probably have to look at in the summer.”