Jim Bentley: Why AFC Fylde took decisions early on out-of-contract players
Decisions on AFC Fylde’s out-of-contract professionals were made early in the best interests of the players themselves as the Coasters plan for a return to more ‘normal’ football next season.
The Mill Farm club will go close to six months between competitive fixtures after their season was again terminated early as a result of the pandemic.
Players are continuing to come into the club on a part-time basis until pre-season training begins in earnest on June 21.
It’s a plan manager Jim Bentley believes will help his squad physically and mentally during the long close season.
And although no announcements have yet been made on out-of-contract players, Bentley believes it was important to inform those concerned early about the decisions taken.
Bentley told the club website: “The chairman, the chief executive and myself have been discussing the retained list, negotiating contract renewals and looking at some recruitment options for the coming season.
“It’s a really important stage for us and we’ve had to make some really difficult decisions on players.
“We could have sat them down at the end of their contracts but I thought it was better that we did it ahead of time to give those leaving the chance to train somewhere else (the National League continues until the end of the month, though its deadline for registering players for this season has now passed).
“It wouldn’t have been fair to throw them into the May rat race along with every other out-of-contract player.”
The ‘structured plan’ Bentley and his staff have devised is intended to ensure the players arrive for pre-season in the best possible condition and frame of mind.
He added: “A good pre-season doesn’t guarantee anything but it encourages best practice.
“You want to create a good, structured, organised and hardworking environment.
“The main thing for me is getting the players as fit as possible, getting them embedded into the group and into our philosophy and, touch wood, avoiding any injuries.
“We were pleased with how last season’s pre-season went.
“We adhered to strict regulations and navigated our way through a unique programme.
“We started well, winning the first seven games, so we will be looking to replicate that as much as we can.”
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