Pilley: Chorley can follow Fleetwood’s example

Andy Pilley
Andy Pilley

Fleetwood chairman Andy Pilley sees no reason why tonight’s FA Cup hosts Chorley cannot follow in his club’s footsteps to the Football League.

The last time the sides met competitively was in a 1-1 draw at Victory Park in the April of Town’s 2005-06 Northern Premier League division one promotion campaign.

Since then Fleetwood have soared to League One, while the Magpies have risen to National League North.

As they prepare to meet in the first round tonight, Pilley says Chorley can be a real force in non-league.

He said: “I think it is possible when you look at their gates. Geographically they are in a really good location. They have Bolton, Preston, Blackburn and are not far away from Wigan and Manchester.

“There was a decent gate when we went along. The supporters were passionate and I have got good memories of Victory Park from our journey through non-league. I always feel it is a club with potential.

It is a big ground.There is a population and done right I think Chorley could be a real force in non-league.”

Town are hoping to take 600 fans tonight for what Pilley says it is an exciting tie.

He said: “I think it is great to re-engage with our roots, which is the non-league.

Chorley are a club I like. I know the chairman and I know Dave Riche their CEO very well.

“Their manager has been great in getting the best out of our loan players Nick Haughton and Matty Urwin.

“He has done well getting them back playing regularly and confident. I’m sure it has helped Chorley and I don’t think I could have hand-picked a better draw.

“It will certainly capture the public’s imagination and it is no surprise to me that TV have decided it will be a live game because it has all of the ingredients of a great FA Cup tie.”

His oppositie number Ken Wright used to manage Fleetwood and Pilley says he has a lot of time for the Chorley chief.

He said: “I last saw Ken at the Macron towards the end of last season while I was on a spying mission and I caught up with him.

“I get on well with him and have a lot of respect for him. He has always run Chorley incredibly well. The gates are always good for a club in the Conference North.

“I think they can certainly go up another league and – who knows? – knock on the door of the Football League.

“But I would have liked the game to have been on Saturday at 3pm. I’m a traditionalist in that respect.”