Challinor: Two more wins and the title is Fylde's
Manager Dave Challinor acknowledged that his AFC Fylde side moved a step closer to the Vanarama National North title without kicking a ball on Tuesday.
Closest challengers Kidderminster Harriers lost their game in hand 1-0 at second-bottom Stalybridge that night.
That left Fylde, who themselves came unstuck at Stalybridge last Saturday, six points clear with four games to play.
Fylde’s goal difference is 14 better than the Harriers’, so six points from those remaining matches should be enough to wrap up the only automatic promotion place.
Challinor’s side visit third-placed Halifax Town tomorrow before welcoming Bradford Park Avenue to Mill Farm on Monday, when it is possible they could seal the title.
But Challinor is taking nothing for granted and said: “There’s no doubt Tuesday night’s result went in our favour but we still have to concentrate on ourselves.
“We realistically need just six points to win the title and we have a chance to do that this weekend. I always expect our rivals to win all of their games, so when they don’t it’s a bonus.
“The table tends to settle down over Easter, so we will have a much better idea by the end of the weekend.
“There is still everything to play for and we have a very tough weekend ahead. But they are two games we are very much looking forward to and hopefully we can bounce back from Saturday’s defeat.
“Our focus remains solely on ourselves. At Christmas we thought 87 points would be enough to win the league and we can still get to that. It might take less now (Fylde have 78) but that’s still the aim.
“Tuesday’s game makes it a little easier but doesn’t change what we are aiming towards. We want to win on Friday first and foremost.”
The Coasters are expecting their largest away following of the season for the top of the table clash at The Shay and Challinor added: “We have lost just once at Mill Farm and the fans have played a huge part in that.
“We have had a fantastic upturn in attendances since the summer move and we are taking more and more supporters away from home too.
“It will be great for the fans if we can achieve promotion at home because they deserve a thank you and a celebration.
“We have a lot of new supporters we are still converting but hopefully they have enjoyed what they have seen so far.”