One point from target but Fylde boss Challinor is still looking up

Dave Chalinor
Dave Chalinor
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They are one point away from the total most in the National League count as the safety barometer and now AFC Fylde boss Dave Challinor is readjusting his aims – a play-off push.

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A roaring January saw Fylde recover from an indifferent start to climb into promotion contention. Challinor’s men are ninth, just seven points behind leaders Wrexham.

Ahead of tomorrow’s trip to 14th-placed Gateshead, Challinor says the league is wide open and that’s good news for the Coasters.

He told The Gazette: “50 points is important because that is the figure we thought at the start of the season would secure our status in the league. It may be a little less than that because the teams down the bottom have struggled a bit.

“I suppose after our January run we are looking up and we have to keep as close as possible to the play-off spots. We want to make sure we are still competing at the end of the season and still trying to get into the top-six positions.

“To get to that 50 mark as quickly as possible was the target and then you reassess.

“In the first few months (of the season) you are getting across to the players that they can compete at this level, and once you’ve done that I suppose your aspirations move forward After not having a great start, the positive for us is that nobody has run away with it and the league is really wide open.

“I’m sure if you ask anyone in the top 10 or 12 they are all looking up, wanting to secure their place in the league and then kick on. And once the play-offs come around, anyone has a chance of winning.

“Even now, if you asked me to name a title winner I could not do it. We showed in January that a run can move you significantly up the league.

“I think it is open for anyone to go for that title if they want to.”

Challinor was boosted by the return of Henry Jones and James Hardy after lengthy injuries for last weekend’s 2-2 draw with Eastleigh.

He now has a fully fit squad and some hard decisions to make, but the manager stressed all his squad will be needed in the final 14 games.

Challinor said: “We are going to have to leave some out of the match day squad but everybody is important and will be required. Everyone wants the same thing and is pushing in the same direction.”