Fylde boss pleased to sign two leaders

Andy Bond
Andy Bond
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AFC Fylde manager Dave Challinor says he is delighted with his latest signings as the Coasters continue to build their squad for next season.

Midfielder Andy Bond has joined from League Two side Crawley Town and the squad was further boosted when defender Josh Langley signed a new two-year deal with the club.

Challinor admitted that Bond has been a long-time target for the Coasters and he believes the 30-year-old will add some vital experience to the squad.

The Fylde boss said: “Andy is someone we have been aware of for a while. He spent some time with Chorley recently and he is a good friend of Colin Woodthorpe (assistant manager).

“There was a clause in his contract at Chorley that allowed him join a Football League club and he moved to Crawley at the start of the year. However, he was keen to return up north to be closer to home and that helped us to do a deal.

“The opportunity to remain full-time was another bonus for him. There is also the potential for him to transfer across into some coaching at some point too.

“We may use him in the Academy programme and his experience will be massive for us.

“Andy can play a few different roles, depending on how we line up in midfield. We have a lot of talented younger players but we don’t have many natural leaders within the squad, so that is something we are looking to add.

“That doesn’t mean people who shout and bawl, but people who lead by example and Andy fits that mould.

“He will give us some grit in the middle of the park, but more importantly he can play and that fits in with what we do. Our philosophy won’t change but we have to constantly evolve.

“The big thing for us when we are looking at new signings is mentality. We want lads who have high standards and demand that of their team-mates.

“With our transition to full-time we need a switch in mentality and players who embrace that, so it’s important we bring in the right characters.”

Another decision Challinor will have to make concerns his captain for the forthcoming campaign.

Last season’s skipper Tom Hannigan departed for Altrincham a fortnight ago, while another former captain has also moved on in Brad Barnes.

However, Challinor isn’t overly concerned who will wear the armband.

He said: “Within a couple of weeks of pre-season, we will have a better idea of the next captain.

“Natural leaders will come to the fore and stand out, and we will take it from there.

“Does it make a huge difference who is captain? Not really. We want everyone to step up on the pitch and hopefully they will do that.

“I was a captain for most of my career and it’s obviously a great honour, but with that comes responsibility.

“I have an idea of candidates and I think it will probably become quite obvious early in pre-season.”

One man who could be in the running is defender Langley, who has given Challinor a welcome boost by committing his future to the club.

“The one surprising factor with Josh is that there was no interest from Football League clubs,” the manager admitted.

“He isn’t your typical ‘head it, kick it’ centre-half – he’s an accomplished footballer.

“I think he needs to be in a team that wants to play and the majority of the teams in this league and the league above don’t really do that.

“Josh is only 23 years old and still has the potential to improve further still.

“He is young for a centre-half, he’s still learning and still making mistakes, but to be able to work with him full-time will make a massive difference.

“He probably needs to work on the ugly side of his game. There are times when you need to just defend which is perhaps against his nature, but if he can get a balance then he will become a very good player.

“Now that he has signed his new deal he has to show the drive to be the best he can be and I’m sure he’ll do that. I think we will see a stronger, more accomplished centre-half next season.”

DANIEL AGNEW