Dan Pike signing from Blackburn shows value of work behind the scenes says AFC Fylde boss Jim Bentley

AFC Fylde have moved quickly to snap up Dan Pike as a short-term loan signing after full-back Luke Burke was injured in last Saturday’s draw at Kettering Town.

Friday, 10th September 2021, 8:00 am

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Jim Bentley: AFC Fylde point at Kettering could be vital

And manager Jim Bentley says Fylde’s ability to bring in cover for injured players shows the value of doing your homework and watching matches.

Fylde have been unlucky with injuries in the early weeks of the season but have successfully moved into the transfer market to plug the gaps.

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Dan Pike signs for AFC Fylde flanked by chief executive Jonty Castle (left) and team boss Jim Bentley

Joe Piggott and Jacob Holland-Wilkinson were brought in last month after forwards Jack Sampson and Nathan Shaw were struck down by injury.

Pike, a promising 19-year-old from Blackburn Rovers, arrives at Mill Farm in time for tomorrow’s trip to Bradford (Park Avenue) to cover for Burke, who has a groin injury.

Coasters boss Bentley told The Gazette: “It shows just how important it is to get out and watch games.

“We did that and drew up a list of players who could come in an help us if necessary. We saw Dan in a couple of games and were impressed.

“He played against us in the Luke Bennett Celebration match too and now the opportunity has arisen to bring him in.”

Pike provides an immediate option as National League North leaders Fylde look to stretch their unbeaten start to six games over the Pennines tomorrow, though Bentley will consider alternatives.

He added: “We are a little light in the full-back area. Luke Conlan is really our only other specialist.

“Dan has trained with us and is up to speed, so potentially he could come into the side.

“But we do have the option to go to three at the back, which we did at Kettering when Luke was injured, and we’ve done a bit more work on that this week.”

Fylde aim to return to winning ways after dropping their first points of the season in last weekend’s 1-1 draw at Kettering.

“On reflection it was a good point,” said Bentley. “We know we can play better but credit to Kettering, who were well drilled and made it difficult for us.

“Our keeper was worked more than theirs but we stay unbeaten. You try to take three points from every game but you can’t always do that, so you take one point.”

Fylde won’t want a repeat of their last encounter with Bradford, a 3-3 draw at Mill Farm last December in which the visitors equalised in stoppage time.

It’s a match Bentley will always remember, even though he wasn’t present that night.

“It was day I had my heart bypass” he recalls. “I’d had the operation in the early hours and it was 24 hours later that I woke up and returned to the land of the living.

“The first person I spoke to was a nurse and I asked her to find out our score on her phone, and she told me they had equalised in the last minute.

“I’d been to watch Bradford before the game, which was the last game I scouted before my operation.

“I saw for myself the problems they could throw up and the challenge of their artificial pitch. I’m sure they will pose problems for us again but we’ve prepared well.”

It’s the same commitment to planning and preparation that has enabled Fylde to bring in a replacement so quickly for Burke, who could require a couple of weeks to recover.

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