Jim Bentley praises positive outlook at AFC Fylde ahead of return to league action at Solihull Moors
Jim Bentley is looking forward to AFC Fylde’s return to National League action away to sixth-placed Solihull Moors on Saturday.
Fylde came away 1-0 winners in what was a fairly close encounter but Moors are in the play-off zone and have a score to settle with the Coasters, who beat them in the play-offs last season.
Danny Philliskirk scored the only goal just two minutes into that semi-final at Damson Park to send Fylde to Wembley.
But for new boss Bentley, Solihull are a new face rather than a familiar foe.
He said: “I look forward to every game and all the problem-solving you have to go through at different grounds.
“It’s new to me – I’ve never been there. I know they had a successful season last year. For whatever reasons this season they haven’t really gone to the heights they wanted to but they’re still a good side, an effective side, from what I’ve seen and heard.
“It is one of those places where you’ve got to stand up and be counted.
“The good thing from our point of view is the defensive record hasn’t been great this season and we’ve just kept two clean sheets back to back. That’s something to build on.
“We know there’s more to come from our offensive play. We’ve just been focusing more on our defensive stuff.
“We’ll start throwing down a little bit more with regard to our attacking play.
“There was good evidence of it against Nantwich, more so in the first half.
“Whatever game comes round we look forward to it. What we’ve done is give ourselves a shot in the arm.
“We’re five unbeaten, we’ve won in the cup and we’ve kept two clean sheets. There’s plenty to build on. It just gives the club a real good positive vibe now.
“We’ll have a good week in training and when the game comes round on Saturday we’ll give it our absolute all and try to win.
“We want to keep our run going, which builds momentum and builds confidence.
“The lads are in a good place at the minute. They’re training well and they’re working hard.
“They’ve got a good togetherness among themselves and long may that continue.”
Now unbeaten in five, the Coasters boss is happy with the way his players have responded to the change in management. Bentley hasn’t just been impressed with the playing staff, but also with everyone behind the scenes at Mill Farm.
He had to get his message across quickly, with his first game at Maidenhead the day after his appointment.
But since then, the 43-year-old has convened regular meetings to make sure his players understand what he wants from them.
“I’ve been really pleased. The players have been fantastic,” he said. When you come in it’s a new face. Chally (Dave Challinor) was here for such a long time and I’ve been at another club for a long time. It is a big turnover.
“But from minute one, the first meeting we had with them on that Monday afternoon, everything has been really good.
“We had a positive meeting in the hotel before the first game and everything has run nicely and smoothly.
“We’ve put an itinerary in place which we’ll stick to which the players are pleased with. I can’t speak highly enough of them.
“Not just them, the staff who were already here too – the strength and conditioning coach, the physio etc. It’s all good at the moment.”
Fylde lost 3-1 away to Burnley in the Lancashire County Cup yesterday, Nick Haughton scoring the late consolation goal in a strong Coasters line-up.