Fylde in total control now, says Challinor

Dave Challinor
Dave Challinor

AFC Fylde manager Dave Challinor says the equation this weekend is very simple – win and his league leaders are champions.

The Coasters are four points clear of second-placed Kidderminster Harriers with two National League North games remaining, meaning victory at Boston United on Saturday would seal the title.

Despite watching his side stutter against Bradford Park Avenue last time out, when Matty Blinkhorn’s stoppage-time goal salvaged a 1-1 draw, Challinor has his eyes firmly set on the “biggest prize”.

Challinor said: “We are where we had hoped to be at the beginning of the season, although we would have preferred a better result against Bradford to put us in an even stronger position. There was a bit of doubt on Monday as to whether us winning would have clinched the title, and as it worked out we couldn’t have (because Kidderminster won at Altrincham).

“The situation is totally in our control now and we know that if we win on Saturday then the title is ours. It will be a great game to be involved in. Our sole focus is on winning the game and there is no bigger prize for us at the end of it.

“We have been top of the league since September and have been there to be shot at.

“Teams are naturally going to be tight and organised against us and that means we have to create our own opportunities. We have done that and have scored over 100 goals.

“On occasions we have had to grind out results but we are in a deserved position and now we have to finish it off.”

Even if Fylde fail to win at Boston, they will still seal the title this weekend unless Kidderminster achieve a better result at Gainsborough.

Challinor added: “I’m not overly fussed how we achieve promotion but we can only affect our own result. If we don’t win the game and the other result goes our way, then I’d absolutely take it but we would by far prefer to win and keep it out of anyone else’s hands.

“Boston are a decent side on a good run and the pitch again won’t be fantastic, but we go there with everything to play for and we have to show that we deserve the prize.

“When you get within touching distance, of course the nerves start to creep in but ultimately it’s just another game. We have to back the ability we have because we are in this position for a reason.”

However, Challinor is wary of the threat Boston pose, despite having little to play for in 15th place: “The new manager (Adam Murray) has got them really well organised defensively and they will be difficult to break down. I’m expecting a really tough game,” he said.

“There is an honesty about players throughout English football, regardless of whether their team has anything to play for or not. One thing they are playing for is their future.

“As a footballer, the last thing you want is another team celebrating on your own turf, so that will be a big motivation for them. We are not expecting them to just roll over.”

DANIEL AGNEW