AFC Fylde manager Dave Challinor insists his side will not be making up the numbers in the National League next season.

The Coasters reached the highest tier of non-league football after a title-winning 2016-17 campaign.

Challinor admits that this will be the biggest test yet after several years of unpresented success, but believes the Coasters are more than ready for the challenge.  

Challinor said: “It’s a big step up. We have come up from a division where we were one of just two or three full-time teams in a part-time league.

“We are now going into a league where the vast majority of teams are full-time and have full-time infrastructures so all of a sudden the advantage we had is gone.

“We have to move forward too. We don’t want to go into the league and just survive. We want to be competitive. We have become accustomed to winning games here and we want that to continue.

“However, we have to accept that at points during the season we will be up against it and inevitably we are going to lose games. We are all looking forward to the challenge and it’s one that we will meet head on.

“We will be coming up against teams that we have never faced before and it will be a great adventure but at the end of the day we want to be successful. We will be looking up the table at those top positions.”

Local rivals Fleetwood Town remain the only side since the inception of the National League North in 2004 to have progressed to the Football League, however Challinor is confident that Fylde’s long-term plan will see them replicate the Cod Army’s success.

“It’s a big ask but we have a plan in place and that has been successful to date,” added Challinor.

“The long-time aim is still the same – we want to be in the Football League by 2022. That was set 15 years ago so we still have five years to realise that. We’d like to do it quicker than that but we have to be realistic.

“If we were to have a steady season with an eye on the play-off places then that wouldn’t be the end of the world by any means but we will go into the season positively and see where it takes us.

“We know it’s a huge step and whilst many have tried, only one has successfully achieved Football League status from the National League North. It will be difficult, but that’s where our focus lies.

“We are just one step away from where we want to be but we are well aware that it’s the biggest step.”