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Finley back as Fylde seek a Maiden victory for December

Sam Finley
Sam Finley

AFC Fylde boss Dave Challinor is set to be boosted by the return of Sam Finley for tomorrow’s visit to Maidenhead United.

ddAFC Fylde boss Dave Challinor is set to be boosted by the return of Sam Finley for tomorrow’s visit to Maidenhead United.

The midfielder was suspended for the 4-1 Boxing Day defeat at Tranmere, having been sent off against Ebbsfleet three days earlier, but is available for the trip to Berkshire.

It is a welcome boost for Challinor’s side, who have slipped to 19th in the Vanarama National League in a winless December. But they are aiming to end the year on a high ahead of a hectic January.

Challinor told The Gazette: “Sam Finley’s suspension was a big blow for everyone. He is very influential player who gives us more creativity.

“He will be available and we have others coming back to fitness, which is good because we have a really big month ahead.”

Apart from Jonny Smith’s consolation effort against Rovers, all of Fylde’s league goals in the last two months have been scored by Danny Rowe.

Challinor admits they are reliant on the striker, who has bagged 12 in the league, and are looking to bring in fresh support for the striker next month.

Challinor stressed that hit-man Rowe’s goals have been a massive feature of the club’s success in recent seasons.

He said: “It is something we have talked about. We are looking to bring people in in those attacking areas at the top of the pitch.

“At the start of the season we had centre-halves getting goals and we want everyone to chip in. It is something we are aware of and we are looking at different systems and options.

“On the other hand, Danny has been getting 30-plus goals in the last two seasons, so it is a big feature of our side.”

Talks are ongoing to extend the loan deals of Smith, Luke Burke and George Edmundson.

Oldham defender Edmundson’s deal is set to end first – after Monday’s rematch with Tranmere – and Challinor says that if the clubs cannot reach an agreement soon they will have to look elsewhere.

He said: “Talks with Oldham are ongoing. He is enjoying his football here but if we do not have an answer soon we will have to start looking at other options.”

And Challinor is anticipating an ugly game at Maidenhead, who are 11th and on a three-match winning run.

The manager added: “It will be a tough game and I don’t expect it to be the prettiest. The pitch is not in great condition and will not be conducive to attractive football but we have got to adapt.

“We went to places where we had to play a little bit differently last season and we were successful.

“We have had the two games against Wigan in the FA Cup this month and you expect a hangover from those games, as much as you try to counter it.

“We were back to reality in the FA Trophy (losing on penalties at Chester).

“It has been a disappointing month in terms of results but there have been lots of positives with the performances.

“We had more attempts on goal than Tranmere and as many on target, but they scored four and we scored one. On another day it could have been a different result.

“We were disappointed about the goals we conceded but we have to rectify that at Maidenhead.”