With AFC Fylde’s retained list now out in the open, Jim Bentley looks ahead to the new season and reveals his delight at keeping the large majority of his squad tied down.

If all of the out-of-contract players agree on new deals then, as it stands, The Coasters will head into the 2021/22 season with 15 players on the books, all of which have played a pivotal part last season.  

Speaking to afcfylde.co.uk, he said: “Overall, we are really pleased with the business that’s been done. All of the players are at different stages: some have options, some are out of contract, some players have a year left that we feel deserve an extension. So, there’s been a lot of talk going on behind-the-scenes to make sure we are all set up for the new season.

We believe we have the makings of a promotion squad. It’s now my job; Chaddy’s job; Jonty’s job; the Chairman’s job, to make sure that we go on and achieve what we want to achieve. That means going out and looking for players that will strengthen the squad again.

“We built a team that was top on points per game, but now the challenge for us is getting bodies in the building that are even better than that. We are always striving to be better. Our aim is to build a team that isn’t only capable of getting us out of this league, but also able to take us to the next level.”

While things have been far from plain sailing over the past two seasons – experiencing relegation from the National League via PPG (points per game) in the 2019/20 campaign and having the 2020/21 season cut short when sitting second in the league – Jim believes he and the rest of his side will use that as a motivator moving forward:

“It’s been a bit of a rollercoaster since I joined the Club, to say the least. I joined at a difficult time when the Club was in a relegation position and psychologically the team was suffering. Some players had become a little disillusioned. 

There was only myself, Duncan (Kit Man), and five players on contract. Since then, we’ve worked hard to put together a playing staff and non-playing staff that we believed could go on to achieve promotion at the first time of asking.

We have got better and better as time has passed, I think everyone could see that. The last two games, Telford and Chorley, was when you could really see the progression. Now we are all eager to finish the job that we started.

I believe it’s important we use these experiences and setbacks as inspiration when we return for pre-season.”