AFC Fylde manager Dave Challinor admits that work behind the scenes hasn’t stopped since the end of last season as the Coasters prepare for their first ever season in the National League.
Fylde have made three signings so far this summer with Jordan Tunnicliffe, Lewis Montrose and Zaine Francis-Angol all joining the club.
Challinor insists that talks have held place with several other players but that he will only look to sign the ‘right players’ to assist the Coasters with their ambitions next year.
“We’ve not stopped working since the Worcester game. We’ve spoken to lots of players and lots of agents. We’ve got agents in place for certain players and we want to get our business done as efficiently as possible, provided that the players are the right ones.
“If that takes a bit longer, it takes a bit longer but we’ll certainly cast our eye over players in pre-season. At the moment, we have 13 players signed up, I’d suggest that we are probably going to have about 20 altogether.
“I’ll really pleased with the three lads we’ve brought in so far. They all bring one aspect that we need to improve and that was our record defensively especially going into a tougher division. All three are players who we think can get better.
“Jordan and Zaine have really big ambitions to play in the Football League and I’m sure that they are capable of doing that. Lewis has already had that experience, he’s come back down and really wants to kick on again.
“They’ll all be really important players for us and they’re the right characters and they fit in to what we’re trying to do. Hopefully they can kick on and be a big success here.
Challinor was also presented with the Vanarama National League North Manager of the Season award on Saturday evening after leading the Coasters to the title.
Whilst happy to receive the award, Challinor was quick to point out that he sees it as a reward for the entire Fylde team.
“It’s a reward for work over a long season but it’s also a reward for everyone really. Individual awards in football are pleasing but ultimately to get to where we needed to, it was a massive team effort.
“That’s been shown with Rowey winning player of the year and winning the golden boot. Everyone plays their part in what was a really successful season for us.
“It was great to receive an accolade at the end of what’s been a tough season and one that we can take into next season.”
Significant changes have been made to the National League next season which will see teams from second to seventh contest the playoffs after two additional places were added following consultation with National League clubs.
When asked for his opinion on the new format, Challinor admitted that he sees the extra playoff places as an excellent chance for Fylde and would see reaching the top seven as a successful season.
“The changes in the play-off format is great for us. We’re realistic as to where we’re at, I certainly am, and we’re going into a really, really tough league. We’re carrying momentum and we’re confident but ultimately these divisions are really tough to get out of and if we can have an eye of those playoffs, especially with the extra spots available, that will be a massive achievement.
“It’s what we’re looking for, we are ambitious in terms of what we’re doing but those extra spaces are great for a lot of clubs. No-one will be sat there being really, really confident thinking that they’ll romp this league because it’s a tough division. I think that for a lot of teams if you offered them a place in the playoffs at the start of the season they’d absolutely grab your hand off. Overall, I think it’s probably a fairer format.
“People are saying that more teams are getting dragged in and ultimately you could finish 7th and get promoted. Regardless of whether you finish 2nd or 5th, the final is obviously at Wembley which would be another massive carrot at the end of a tough season.”