Finley targets big step-up with flying Fylde
AFC Fylde midfielder Sam Finley is refusing to get too carried away despite the outstanding start the Coasters have made to the 2016-17 campaign.
AFC Fylde are one of only three unbeaten teams in the top six tiers of English football, along with Tottenham Hotspur and Carlisle United, and find themselves four points clear at the top of National League North.
Saturday’s narrow 2-1 victory over Nuneaton strengthened their grip on top spot, and while the bookmakers have Fylde as clear favourites for the title Finley believes there is a long way to go.
He said: “We don’t want to start jinxing things by saying this is our season, but there is a much better feeling around the place than there was last season.
“Going full-time and having the new ground, it looks all set for us to go straight up and then progress into the Football League, which is what everyone at this club so desperately wants.
“But we certainly aren’t taking that for granted and there is still a lot of football to be played.
“I think we have brought in some experienced players this year and that has definitely helped us to improve and become more consistent.”
Danny Rowe’s second-half winner – his 20th strike of a tremendous season – eased the Coasters through a nervy match against Nuneaton but Finley believes his side made hard work of the game.
He added: “Last week’s game against Kidderminster was probably a tougher game but we made this one more difficult than it should have been because we made more mistakes.
“Bondy (Andy Bond) has taken full responsibility for losing his man for the goal and perhaps that would have been the cleans sheet we have been craving for some time, but we all have to do better.”
Like Fylde, Nuneaton have a full-time playing staff and Finley added: “Being full-time gives you a massive advantage at this level as Kidderminster and ourselves have proved.
“Nuneaton are a lot better side than the table suggests and I’m sure they will get out of the difficult position they are in.”
Next up for Dave Challinor’s side is a top of the table clash at home to fourth-placed Harrogate Town on Saturday and Finley is relishing the test.
He said: “We are flying at the moment and still unbeaten in the league, so we are really looking forward to the game against Harrogate.
“This season we have been able to up our game when we have needed to and I’m sure we will do that again.
“I don’t know much about Harrogate this season, but they were decent last year and we did well to beat them in the play-offs. It should be a great game but hopefully we will come out on top and keep this run going.”