AFC Fylde’s top teen talent Serhat Tasdemir hopes to make an impact in the Coasters’ National League run-in.
The 17-year-old former Blackburn Rovers attacker has been a revelation since graduating from Fylde youth team in the summer.
He has since been a regular in manager Dave Challinor’s plans and popped up with a key goal in the 3-1 victory over promotion rivals Dover Athletic last time out at Mill Farm.
Having taken his season’s goal tally to four, Tasdemir said: “This season has been really good. I have been in and out of the team and that is frustrating, but it just drives me on to work harder. Getting the goals and performing when I am on the pitch is a boost.
“The aim is to get more goals and contribute in big games, just like I did against Dover. That was a big goal for me and hopefully there are more to come.
“That was definitely my most important goal of the season and it was a great feeling when it went in.
“I knew the two defenders we coming straight at me, so I just shimmied to the right and put my foot through it. I was very happy to see it fly in!
“Of course it’s difficult when I’m not selected but I understand where the gaffer is coming from. Sometimes it’s a bit risky throwing a young player into the team.
“It’s frustrating but hopefully I can work my way into the manager’s plan more regularly. I train hard and do my best to get in, and when I get my chance I’ll take it.
“The manager will encourage me from the sidelines when I’m out there and just getting those ‘well dones’ really boosts my confidence.
“There is a lot of competition but all we can do is work hard and hope it pays off. It’s all about being mentally strong when you miss out.
“I’m learning to deal with that side of the game all the time and I feel I’m improving in every area. Being around the first team and training every day is really helping my development.
“As well as mentally, I feel like I’m physically growing too. I’m handling myself well and holding the ball up against big players. Dover are a big, strong side, so I thought I did well and hopefully that will continue to improve.”
Tasdemir was top scorer for the youth team last season with 19 and believes he has taken the “huge” step up in his stride.
“I think have adapted well to it,” he says. “Everything is different – the physical side, the speed of the game, right through to the vibe in the changing rooms.
“There are bigger characters and the tempo of training is far greater, but I’m really enjoying it all.”
The Coasters find themselves five points below the play-off zone after two weeks without a game, but Tasdemir is confident of a top-seven return.
“We have a very good set of players and a good manager, so I really don’t see why we can’t finish up there,” he said.
“If I can chip in with the odd goal or assist, then great. I want to help us achieve success and to help the lads out.
“Saturday’s opponents Aldershot are right up there with the best teams we have played this season. They like to play football, much like us, so I think it will be a good contest.
“Every game is important now and this is a 100 per cent must win in my eyes. We need to rack up the points as soon as possible to get back up there.”