AFC Fylde winger Matty Hughes is relishing competition from summer signing Brendon Daniels as the Coasters gear up for the new season.
The ambitious Coasters have been busy in the transfer market following the departure of several squad members, swooping for Barrow centre-back Steve Williams and winger Daniels from Harrogate Town.
Hughes could be in direct competition with the ex-Harrogate ace next season but the former Fleetwood man is relishing the battle for a starting berth.
“Competition is always good,” said Hughes. “It keeps you on your toes. It also helps you personally to progress and play better so I’m looking forward to giving him (Daniels) a good challenge.”
“Other than the few times we played Harrogate, I don’t know too much about Brendon. We just concentrated on our own game when we played them. I know that Caspar (Hughes) knows him from when he played at Crewe.
“I’m not really one for looking at how or where other people play, I just get on with my own job.”
Another major change for the club will be transition from part-time to full-time training as the Coasters look to earn promotion from the Vanarama National League North.
Hughes experienced full-time football at Fleetwood before making the move to Fylde and he believes that the decision will only benefit the club.
“I think it’s a massive step because it gives players a chance to improve and stay fit throughout the season. Training twice a week, for me, was very different to training four or five times a week. It’s a massive step going forward for the club and I’m excited to start pre-season.”
Looking back at last season’s campaign, Hughes expressed his disappointment in the fortunes of both the team and his own personal form.
Fylde agonisingly missed out on promotion, losing in the play-off final to North Ferriby United but Hughes also had several injuries to battle throughout the season.
“I thought we did alright but obviously we wanted to go up. That was the aim at the beginning of the season but it wasn’t to be. We had ups and downs throughout the campaign but obviously it was disappointing to end it the way we did. I think it only makes us want to get better and take that next step and go up next season.
“Overall, I wasn’t particularly happy with how I played throughout the season. I got a couple of injuries early in pre-season and during the season as well. I missed a lot of games and I didn’t really fulfil my own ambitions to be honest.
“I beat myself up most about how I played most weeks and I look back and I think it wasn’t a good season so I’m looking forward to improving next year.”
Fylde will move to their new home at Mill Farm for the start of next season and Hughes expressed his excitement at running out at the new stadium.
“I’ve seen plenty of photos on Twitter and Facebook and I can’t wait to actually play there. Obviously in pre-season we’ll be playing at Kellamergh but that makes it all the more exciting when the season does start and we play the first game there.
“It’s a massive thing for the club and for the fans and for everyone involved at Fylde. We are there for the Awards Evening on Friday so we’ll have a good nosey around I’m sure.”
Next season promises to be an extremely competitive year in the National League North with a number of teams battling it out for the two promotion spots.
“This year was competitive but I feel that this coming year is going to be a lot tougher. You’ve got the likes of Halifax, Salford and Kidderminster coming into it so we’ve got to expect some tough games throughout the season but I’m sure we’ll be able to hold our own.”