AFC Fylde manager Dave Challinor believes the pressure is off his side this weekend as they prepare for the FA Trophy tie against Gateshead.
The Coasters travel to Tyneside on Saturday in the last 16 of the competition and victory would see Challinor’s side just two rounds from a grandstand Wembley final.
Fylde have already seen off Warrington Town, Skelmersdale United and Eastbourne Borough to reach this stage and Challinor sees Saturday’s match against the National League club as a ‘freebie’.
“There is very little expectation on us this weekend outside of our own dressing room,” said Challinor. “You could say it’s a bit of a freebie for us, a bonus.
“We will go into the game to enjoy it but at the same time we are still going there to win. We know we are well capable of competing with Gateshead so we will just let them worry about us.
“We have done our homework on what they are about and how they play. Every game we play against higher opposition gives us the opportunity to show what we can do as they are where we aspire to be next season.
“In all honesty at the beginning of the campaign this competition wasn’t our biggest priority, similarly to the FA Cup. Of course we wanted to enjoy good runs in both, but certainly not at the expense of our league ambitions.
“If we get through this round into the last eight then people may well start looking a bit further ahead. We would be just one game from a two-legged semi-final and the winner of that finds themselves at Wembley. However, at the moment, it’s just another game for us to do our best in.”