Making it seven wins out of seven after their 2-0 victory over Farsley Celtic, Coasters goalkeeper Chris Neal is expecting a battle when they visit Alfreton Town on Tuesday (7:45pm KO).

Jim Bentley’s side have started the season with a 100% win ratio – four of those victories coming in the National League North. Neal, who has firmly established himself as AFC Fylde’s number one in the early stages of the campaign, believes the experience that he, Nathan Pond and David Perkins, bring to the squad is an important cog in the wheel.

“I think the characters that the manager has brought in have been a big positive, along with the lads that were already here. We’ve got a really good group; good characters. 

“When you look around the dressing room, most of us have had promotions and been a part of successful teams, so we all know what is takes to succeed. I’ve settled in really well and I think it’s really helped that we have a group of really good characters.”

In recent weeks, Jim Bentley has stressed the importance of finding the right balance between youth and experience, and Neal believes he has achieved that with the players that have arrived at Mill Farm:

“There has obviously been a lot of new faces in the building this season, me being one of them. This is my 18th season I think, so I’ve been around the game long enough to know what a good dressing room looks like and this is definitely one of them.

“The gaffer has put experience right down the spine of the team, with Perks and Pondy; Philly and Whitts also have a lot of games under their belts. 

“On a day-to-day basis I like to think we help the young lads and pass on bits of advice. There’s also a really strong sense of mutual respect between everybody here, which allows there to be a good relationship between the players and staff.”

Looking ahead to tomorrow night’s trip to the Impact Arena Stadium, the number one wants to keep the run of form going, but isn’t expecting it to be easy. 

“Take the FA Cup games out of it, and we’ve managed three clean sheets out of four in the league. Luckily, I’ve not had too much to do and that’s down to how solid we are from front to back. The work that the attacking players put in in the attacking third has been brilliant. 

“We are aware that the run won’t last forever, but there’s certainly an incentive to keep it going for as long as we can.

“Alfreton will be tough opposition tomorrow, as every team in this league will be. There’s a lot of physical sides, but I think we’ve proven away at Farsley in the cup that we can do the nasty stuff as well as playing good football.

“Alfreton have had a good start to the season, so we will be going into it expecting a tough, physical game.”