Jim Bentley is expecting a tough encounter when Altrincham visit Mill Farm this weekend.
AFC Fylde head into the game on the back of a 3-1 win away at Farsley Celtic in the previous round. With The Coasters National League North fixture vs Kettering Town postponed last Saturday, the team have had 11 days to prepare for Sunday’s fourth round qualifier.
Opponents, Altrincham, are yet to record a win in the National League this season, having drawn two and lost one.
Bentley, though, believes it is too early to pass judgement on their early season form and is expecting a tough test tomorrow afternoon.
Speaking to afcfylde.co.uk, Bentley said: “Altrincham have had a tough time recently with the COVID situation. We we had a good look at them in pre-season a couple of weeks ago, so, again, we will respect them, we know they’re a good team and we won’t underestimate them.
“They’re a good footballing side with some real good players in there; Matty Kosylo, Richie Sutton, Tony Thompson, Josh Hancock. We know their strengths, but we’re looking to kick on and get to the first round proper. That is the goal.”
With Jordan Hulme – Altrincham’s star striker in recent years – making the switch to AFC Fylde this summer, Jim expects his presence to add a little bit of fire to the game.
“Of course, there’s going to be a little bit of added spice with us signing Jordan. He was one of their key players, so I’m sure he’s going to be looking at getting one over on his old teammates and club.
“It’s got the makings of a really good cup tie and hopefully we can win and come 3 o’clock on Sunday, we will be in the hat.
“That’s what the FA Cup is all about, getting in there with league clubs, and then as you progress, the big boys.”
Last season, The Coasters made it all the way to the Third Round with victories over Nantwich Town and Kingstonian in rounds One and Two. The Third Round saw AFC Fylde draw Sheffield United, who on the day, gave The Blades a run for their money at Bramall Lane in a narrow 2-1 defeat. Although most of the team that featured day have moved on, Bentley believes the excitement that that kind of occasion can generate should be used as motivation for his players.
“There is no other competition like it is there? I love it, I love everything about it. I grew up with it – the old Liverpool v Everton derbies, and I remember the feelings around those games as a kid.
“As everybody knows, we had a great run last year getting to the Third Round and drawing Premier League opposition, so as a football club we have a taste for it now.
“We realise the importance, the effect it has on the community and fanbase, and so we want to sample that more and more.
“It really is a fantastic competition to be involved in.”