AFC Fylde identify Barrow boss Ian Evatt as potential replacement for axed Dave Challinor

Ian Evatt
Ian Evatt
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Managerless AFC Fylde have made an approach for Barrow boss Ian Evatt, The Gazette understands.

READ MORE: Dave Challinor such a hard act to follow after eight years at AFC Fylde

The Coasters want the former Blackpool defender to take over the reins following the sacking of Dave Challinor, who was axed on Saturday.

Evatt is thought to be considering the offer but Barrow are likely to offer him a new and improved contract in an attempt to keep him at Holker Street.

The 37-year-old has won plenty of praise for his work at Barrow, who currently sit in fourth place in the National League table.

The Bluebirds, who are four points off leaders Halifax Town with a game in hand still to play, have won their last seven games on the spin.

The former Blackpool defender took over at Barrow in June 2018 and guided the club to a 10th-placed finish in his first season.

He had previously been appointed caretaker manager at former club Chesterfield after Jack Lester's departure.

Evatt is a highly ambitious manager who is understood to have registered his interest for the Blackpool job when it became vacant following Terry McPhillips' departure this summer.

The speculation comes after Challinor was relieved of his duties on Saturday, bringing an end to his eight-year tenure.

His sacking came in response to Fylde's four-game losing streak, which has seen the Coasters slip into the relegation zone of the National League - less than six months after they almost reached the Football League.

Assistant Colin Woodthorpe has also left the club.

The club issued a statement on Saturday from chairman David Haythornthwaite, who had previously been out of the country, and president Dai Davies.

They said the decision had been an "extremely difficult" one, but had been dictated by football reasons.

The statement said: "It goes without saying that this was an extremely difficult decision for both of us. It doesn’t seem that long ago we were at Kellamagh Park interviewing Dave for the job.

"In fact, Dave and Colin’s first game was November 3rd 2011 away to Curzon Ashton in Evo Stik One North, nearly eight years ago.

"That meant that until today Dave was the second longest-serving manager in the top five tiers of English football, with only Jim Bentley at Morecambe being in the job longer.

"That in itself is a testament to Dave’s track record and the very special relationship the three of us enjoyed on our wonderful journey up the football pyramid.

"We have won together, laughed together, lost together and cried together.

"Today it was the latter, as we took this decision to part company with a man who was not just our manager, but someone who became our friend and whom we respect enormously not only as a manager, but as a human being.

"Now, however, as football dictates, we must go our separate ways.

"Dave and Colin will forever hold a very special place in the hearts of all Fylde supporters and will always be welcome back at the club.

"A club where they helped two lifelong pals fulfill their footballing dreams, culminating in that very special week at Wembley last May when we graced that hallowed turf on two occasions, a record which will stand for a very, very long time.

"We have no doubt in our mind that sometime in the not too distant future Dave will become a Football League manager and he leaves with our sincere thanks and best wishes.

"Thank you David, thank you Colin.

"The club will be making no further statement at this time."

The decision comes less than six months after Challinor and Woodthorpe led Fylde to two Wembley appearances in the space of a week.

The club lost the all-important play-off final which would have seen them promoted to the Football League. But the players returned the following weekend to lift the FA Trophy.