One step at a time for Jim Bentley as AFC Fylde boss prepares for TV test at Barnet

Jim Bentley takes it one match at a time... but can't resist looking ahead to Sheffield United cup clash
Jim Bentley takes it one match at a time... but can't resist looking ahead to Sheffield United cup clash
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Jim Bentley is taking a step at a time as AFC Fylde boss despite their run of form.

READ MORE: Bentley wants to build on perfect week
Coasters manager Bentley takes his side to Barnet this evening (5.20pm kick-off) on the back of three successive wins and clean sheets, and with almost a fully fit squad – striker Kurt Willoughby and keeper James Montgomery and the only players still unavailable.

A third straight National League win in this BT Sport- televised fixture would move Fylde within a point of the 15th-placed Bees.

Bentley explained: “It’s always about the next game. That’s most important, that’s what you put all your energy into. You don’t look too far ahead.

“When I took the job, people were talking about whether it was too late to get into the play-offs. That’s a little bit disrespectful to the league.

“It’s a tough league. We found ourselves where we did (in the bottom four) for one reason or another but you just try to win that individual game.

“But at any level, back-to-back wins like we had last week can move you up a couple of positions.

“What you’re trying to do is put as much distance as you can between yourselves and the bottom teams. If you’re doing that, you’re going to claw yourselves nearer to some of the teams above you and get yourselves back where you want to be.

“Barnet are just ahead of us, so it’s an opportunity to rein them back in and one or two other teams.”

Bentley would allow himself to look ahead to the FA Cup third round, in which he faces his good friend Chris Wilder, the Sheffield United boss, in four weeks.

He said: “We play a top side at the top end of the Premier League. Chris is a good mate and I know his assistant well, Alan Knill.

“Chris was one of the first to text me when the draw came out and I’m looking forward to pitting my wits against his. I’ve done it at League Two level and now he’s in the Premier League.

“It shows you exactly what can happen in time when you work hard. He was managing Halifax in the Conference once and now he’s in the Premier League. I’m really pleased for him.

“You don’t always get what you want (in the draw) but I did want to avoid the League Two clubs I’ve been coming up against all these years.

“When Sheffield United came out, I thought, ‘That’ll do us’ and we got it – Premier League opposition for the first time. It’s a great opportunity.

“We get to play against some of the best players in the country because they’re at the top end and they have done fantastically well.”