AFC Fylde boss DAVE CHALLINOR spoke to JACK CONNOR after the 1-1 draw at Nantwich Town and outlined the plan for the remaining two weeks of pre-season before the first game of the National North season at Solihull Moors on August 8th.

Fylde have come away from here with a 1-1 draw. How do you think the team performed today?

It was a decent workout for the players on a pitch different to ours. The pitch was very long and it didn’t make it easy at all. It was difficult to get what we wanted out of the game in terms of quality but it was a good run around for some of the lads who needed minutes and we haven’t lost which is good.

Adam Sumner missed the game this afternoon. What’s the reason for that?

He got a bang at Bamber Bridge on Tuesday and he’s got a stiff neck so there was no need to risk playing him today really. It’s more precaution than anything else and I’m sure he will be fine for the game next week. Also, Matty Hughes has hurt his toe and he’ll have an x-ray to make sure it’s not broken or anything. It wasn’t the sort of pitch for a player like him today and if the pitch was a little different then we might have been a bit more proactive in our attacks.

The first half was frustrating but the second half changed a little bit. At the end of the day it’s a pre-season exercise and it’s about getting minutes and getting fit. Joe McGee played today and he’ll play on Wednesday against Bolton. After that, we’ll sit down and make a decision on where to go next but he’s done well so far.

Youngster Joe Gregory seems to have coped well with playing with the first team this pre-season, what are your thoughts on his performances?

He’s coped really well. I’m really pleased for him and he’s done well. He’s a quiet kid who probably struggled a bit at the start but since then he’s been brilliant. It’s a difficult position to play as a centre-half when you’re only young. Every game he has played, he has settled in well and looks comfortable. We need to nurture and look after him and make sure he gets the right protection in games he plays. He’s a good prospect for us.

We’ve played a variety of sides on the footballing ladder and the next two home games are against teams from the Championship. Do you prefer playing teams in higher divisions or lower divisions in pre-season?

Pre-season is purely about getting through the games with as many minutes under your belt as possible with as little injuries as possible. Obviously, Matty Hughes has gone off today so we’ll have to have a look at him and see how he is. It’s about performances and learning lessons. Changing how you play to suit your systems and trying new things.

We’ve only got two weeks left of pre-season and we’re still a little way short so we have a lot to work on. Some lads are at different levels to others and they’ll all be fit come the start of the season. We’ll train twice this week and play on Wednesday. We’ve got Skelmersdale away on Saturday and then Blackburn the Tuesday after so the start of the season is near. We need to do some work on set pieces and tactics so the next couple of weeks will be spent doing that.

The league season kicks off in two weeks as you mentioned. Do you have a rough idea of what you want your starting eleven to be?

If everybody is fit, then yes I have an idea of what I want it to be. Additions wise we will bring in someone if we need to but we’ll see where we are at. I want to have to make difficult decisions and I want the players to give me tough choices to make. In one week’s time I want everyone fit and ready to go and then I’ll be looking at individual performances. We’ve got a squad of at least 16 of whom it will be difficult to pick from and at the minute it’s just about working hard and getting through the games.

The next pre-season game at home is on Wednesday July 29th against Bolton Wanderers at Kellamergh Park. Kick-off is 7.30pm, with tickets priced at £8 adults, £5 concessions and free to all U16’s.