The AFC Fylde Academy has made headlines this season, after their tremendous FA Youth Cup efforts took them all the way to a fourth-round tie at Chelsea last month. Away from the cup, Conrad Prendergast’s team have been flying high in the North West Youth Alliance, currently sitting top of the pack with just two games remaining.

A victory against second-placed Altrincham on Sunday will secure their place in the North West Youth Alliance cup final, and Conrad is pushing his players to top off an impressive season with some silverware.

On recent form

“The lads have been so unfortunate over the last two seasons, missing out on lots of football and I sincerely feel for them as all they want to do is play and compete. However, we have absolutely made the most of it, which shows the character and resilience of the team to make it such a special year in those circumstances.

I’m really pleased with how we have progressed and what we have achieved this season and we have thoroughly deserved it. On the back of our FA Youth Cup run, we have continued that form and currently sit top of the league with 2 games left to play and an opportunity to win some silverware.”

On taking confidence from Youth Cup

“The confidence of the players has grown each game, as is expected when you are winning and this is something that I am challenging the lads to maintain. We’re playing well, but we have a big end to the season over the next couple of weeks. It’s important that we don’t dwell on our achievements –  we definitely take great pride in them, but we will need everybody focused on the upcoming games. Some key players are out with injuries at the moment, so the players are having to adapt to that challenge also.”

On dealing with null and void league season

“We received the disappointing news that our league season was declared null and void, with us at the top of the table. We’d been consistently good throughout the entire campaign, with some convincing wins against Chesterfield, Halifax, and Darlington. 

Like always though, I’ve been really pleased with how the players have reacted to that disappointment. nobody has sulked or let their heads drop, they have all turned their attention to the Youth Alliance Cup.”

On players earning professional contracts

“We’ve not made any definitive decisions yet, but we have had a number of discussions with the First Team staff who are well aware of our academy players. The manager and all the staff have taken an interest in what we are doing, which is fantastic for us. It’s put them all in the shop window for a contract, knowing that people like the Chairman, Chief Executive and First Team Manager are sat watching in the stands. “

On standout performers

“It’s impossible to single out an individual because everything we’ve done up until now has been because of a collective effort. I feel every individual player has played their part, impacted specific games, performed consistently, and have given a brilliant account of themselves. We are fortunate to have a group of players that really compliment each other.”

On the importance of winning

“Over the course of this season, this group has been an absolute pleasure to work with; their commitment, desire, and attitude have been admirable and it is why they have achieved so much. Winning is so important at this age, it is our number one focus ahead of every game we play whether that be a friendly, league or cup fixture and there has been a belief that we can win prior to every one of these. It’s having that winning mentality that will help them as they transition into men’s football – that’s something that we are big on here. 

With that in mind, our number one aim is to not let this season fizzle out – we want to lift a trophy.”