AFC Fylde boss Dave Challinor says he and his squad appreciate the effort their hardcore fans make in following the team around the country as they embark on another mammoth trip south.
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Since starting their away schedule at Wrexham, Challinor’s men have headed south to face Eastleigh, Ebbsfleet, Havant and Waterlooville and Sutton United – all round trips of 500-plus miles – and they are London-bound again tomorrow to play Barnet.
Fylde are still unbeaten on the road but have scored only four goals in those five away clashes.
Fylde are fifth and Barnet 12th in the National League, though only three points separate the sides.
Challinor empathises with fans over the long trips, while hoping to see them cheering his side on again in the south-east tomorrow.
He told The Gazette: “It can work both ways – people say you are getting all the long trips out of the way at this time of the year but it is really tough.
“We have tried incentive stuff in terms of the travel – the chairman has put away travel on for a tenner but even then it is tough.
“It is not just about the money, it is about time because it is a full day out of your life.
“Getting up early in the morning to travel in a coach all the way down is a big ask.
“We know where we are at and we just want to keep building our fanbase.
“The fans who travel away from home, our hardcore, will hopefully be there at Barnet cheering us on. We know it is a big ask but we really appreciate it.”
Salford City are the only side to have beaten Fylde in their opening 10 games and Challinor takes his Coasters to Barnet buoyed by a 3-0 home win over Aldershot.
He added: “Every game is a different challenge. It’s another long trip for us on a Friday but it is a game we are looking forward to.
“We are in good form and we should go full of confidence, looking to win. We are on a good run and we still think there is a lot more to come.
“We are certainly working day after day on the training pitch to make that happen.
“Fingers crossed we keep getting better and better over the coming weeks.
“We know that ultimately teams are there to try and stop us and we need to be adaptable.
“We will do some work on Barnet and set up ultimately to stop them as well as focusing on what we are doing”
French forward Gime Toure had to go to hospital with a shoulder injury after Tuesday’s 3-1 derby defeat by Fleetwood Town in the Lancashire Senior Cup.
And Challinor has not ruled out bringing in reinforcements to bolster his squad if injuries hit.
He said: “Gime went to have an x-ray to make sure he is OK. We were a bit concerned whether it was a whack or something more series but fingers crossed he is OK.
“We are not blessed with a massive squad and if we need to get extra bodies in we will.”
Cork City loan defender Danny Kane flew back from Republic of Ireland Under-21 duty with an illness this week and will be assessed.
There are also question marks over full-back Luke Burke, who was substituted as a precaution last weekend because of a hamstring twinge.
Challinor added: “Danny got a bug in Kosovo and we will have to be careful with him.
“Burkey came off with a tight hamstring. It was more precautionary than anything else and fingers crossed there is no reaction.
“Hopefully we will have a fully fit squad to pick from for Barnet.”