Time for another Challinor charge

Richie Allen
Richie Allen
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DAVE Challinor wants his AFC Fylde squad to make a New Year’s resolution to repeat last season’s second-half surge.

The Coasters were 16 points off the pace when Challinor took over at Kellamergh Park last term, but then stormed to the Evo-Stik First Division title with a superb run after the turn of the year, culminating in 10 straight victories.

It would be a truly remarkable feat if history were to repeat itself for Challinor in the Evo-Stik’s elite division, with his side starting 2013 some 21 points adrift of leaders North Ferriby United.

But his 10th-placed side can in theory bridge that gap by winning their seven games in hand.

And the Coasters are certainly full of confidence on the back of successive 4-0 wins over Kendal and Marine.

Challinor told The Gazette: “We spoke after the New Year’s Day game and said that we put a fantastic run together last season after the turn of the year.

“We are under no illusions that we are in a tougher division this season but we are capable of putting another run together, and if we can do that we’ll see where it takes us.

“Of course you would rather have the points on the board, but we still have lots of games in hand.

“And we are focused on playing Saturday-Tuesday-Saturday pretty much every week for the rest of the season.”

Such a rigorous workload will test a squad which Challinor admits was down to the bare bones for Tuesday’s trip to Marine.

“It’s important to keep players fit and away from suspension, but we’ll also be looking to bring players in over the next week or two,” he said.

“We won’t be diving in head first to sign players but we do have people in mind.”

Striker James Dean is suspended for two more games, Glenn Steel has an issue with work commitments and Brad Barnes could be out for a while with a stomach muscle problems.

One source of player recruitment for Challinor could be Fleetwood Town, though Richie Allen’s loan spell from the Highbury club is due to end after the Buxton game.

Challinor added: “I’ve spoken briefly with Graham Alexander at Fleetwood and we’ll have to see what happens with Richie.

“But I know Graham is looking to trim his numbers, so it could be there are other avenues for us to explore with them.”