Coasters boss Dave Challinor is ready to test his National League North hopefuls against football League opposition as Fleetwood Town visit Kellamergh Park tonight (7.30pm).
Graham Alexander’s League One side make the short journey south as both sides kick off their pre-season work.
Challinor admits it’s something of a baptism of fire but knows his players will give good account of themselves.
“We’ve been back in training for a few weeks,” Challinor told The Gazette.
“The work has been good but nothing beats getting into the games.
“We might have wanted a couple of games to ease us in but this is a great test. It’s one the lads have been looking forward to.
“I know Graham will bring a good team down but we know we will give them a game.
“It’s great for my players, a chance for them to show what they can do.”
Among those expected to line up against the Coasters is young striker Matty Hughes.
He joined AFC Fylde having been released by Fleetwood Town at the start of the summer, a move which surprised Challinor.
“I was a bit surprised Graham (Alexander) didn’t hang on to Matty, given the direction Fleetwood seem to be going in with younger players.
“I’m surprised he hasn’t been given his opportunity now.
“But we had the chance to bring him in and I know he’s looking forward to getting started and scoring goals.”
For the second year running, Hughes kicks off pre-season against his former club.
Last July he captained Fleetwood Town as they travelled to Skelmersdale United.
AFC Fylde narrowly missed out on promotion to the top level of the non-league pyramid last season, losing in the play-offs after finishing league runners-up.