Arsenal legend and FA Cup winner Paul Merson has hailed AFC Fylde’s rise through the leagues, as well as their impressive run in The Buildbase FA Trophy.

Merson, who visited Mill Farm to deliver a coaching session to the Elite Tech Academy, was full of praise in his first visit to the ground.

“The facilities are outstanding, absolutely outstanding – and the club are in The FA Trophy semi-final as well which is excellent,” said Merson.

“I’ve been steadily watching them, as I’ve always had trouble saying their name – Flyde I’ve called them, and Tommo (Phil Thompson) slaughters me!”

“I’ve seen them steadily rise up through the leagues, so to be in the semi-final and be a couple of games away from Wembley now is a massive feat.”

The Coasters overcame former Football League club Barnet at Mill Farm at the weekend, beating The Bees from on penalties after a goalless draw.

Alex Reid took the final penalty which booked Fylde their spot in the semi-finals, making way for Danny Rowe just 30 minutes in who fell to illness.

“It’s The FA Cup final for non-league clubs, so it would be amazing to get there and pay the owner back, as playing at a set-up like this makes for a very fortunate bunch of players.”

“I don’t know the owner, but he’s put his money where his mouth is, and you’ve got to respect people who do that.”

The two-legged semi-final is set to be played against either Stockport County or Maidstone United, who will contest a replay this evening at The Gallagher Stadium, following a 1-1 draw at the weekend.

The first leg of the semi-final is set to take place at Mill Farm on 16th March, in what will be a massive afternoon for the club, who bid to become the first team to win both the FA Vase and the FA Trophy.