AFC Fylde manager Dave Challinor is relishing the opportunity for his troops to go head-to-head with League One opposition when Rochdale come to town tomorrow.
The Coasters return to Mill Farm for the first time since lifting the National League North title back in April and Challinor believes the match will provide an ‘eye-opener’ as to where his squad is up to three weeks before the opening game of the new season.
Challinor said: “It’s a good opportunity for our lads to show what they can do against League One players. It’s Rochdale’s first pre-season game after a week abroad so I’m not sure how they will set up, however it will be a good gauge of where we are at.
“We will probably increase the minutes that the lads got on Tuesday at Marine – some will get 60 minutes and others will get 60 minutes on Tuesday night against Bolton.
“All pre-season results do is either increase expectation or reduce expectation so we don’t place too much emphasis on the scoreline. It is primarily a fitness exercise for us and one we want to come through unscathed.
“It will be great to be back at Mill Farm on a surface that will be very good. The pitch here really suits how we like to play. It will be the first time a lot of the players have been out there in Fylde colours and I’m sure they are all very much looking forward to it.”
Midfielder James Hardy and goalkeeper Jay Lynch missed the trip to Marine earlier in the week but Challinor is hopeful that both will be available tomorrow.
“We are hopeful of getting minutes into both of them over the next few days. James should get a few minutes tomorrow afternoon with a view to playing more on Tuesday. Jay is back in training now after his shoulder injury and the two goalkeepers will start a game each over the next two matches.
“We are still three weeks away from the first game so no position is set in stone yet, including the goalkeepers. We haven’t seen Jay play yet and Rhys had a very quiet game earlier in the week so it is all still up for grabs.
“We have brought in players that give us different options and that’s what we want. We need a squad that gives us flexibility. The lads need to be able to fill different roles.
“We are still looking at players and some more will on show today. I’m happy with where we are at but I know that we can still strengthen the squad.”
“Ideally I’d like to add some more experience because we have a very young dressing room and there will be times throughout the season when we need that.”