AFC Fylde have today completed the signing of highly rated midfielder Sam Finley.
The 23 year-old has put pen to paper on a two year deal after leaving League of Wales side The New Saints (TNS). Finley was being tracked by clubs at a higher level both in Conference Premier and League Two but has opted for a switch to AFC Fylde.
Manager Dave Challinor is delighted to bring a player to the club who has been on his wish list for some time.
“Sam is someone I watched about four years ago as a youngster playing for Warrington and I had tried to get him in with us, but he moved to TNS with the opportunity to play full time football which is understandable,” said Challinor.
“He’s developed and flourished there and despite interest, that move into the Football League hasn’t materialised. We can hopefully provide Sam with a platform where his talents can be recognised and he can further improve as a player and he’ll improve us as a squad.”
Finley (pictured above) began his career at Everton’s Academy before joining Southport. He then spent three years at Warrington Town and had trials with both Sheffield United and Preston North End before joining The New Saints in February 2012.
A deal was in place for Finley to join Conference Premier giants Wrexham where he spent last season on loan. However, after talking to AFC Fylde and seeing the ambition and plans for the club, he opted to join The Coasters.
Challinor added: “He’ll be a fantastic addition to our squad, who as a midfield player, has a bit of everything in his game.
“He’ll score, create, compete and is a winner and the more of them we have in our team the better. He may take time to settle in but he’s fresh off four Champions League games with TNS, so his fitness levels aren’t far away. We can’t wait to start working with him and get him integrated into our dressing room.”
Chairman David Haythornthwaite has brokered the deal for Finley from overseas, and can’t wait to see him in action in an AFC Fylde shirt.
He said: “This is another major signing for the club and just like when we brought in Dom Collins, Sam is a player Dave (Challinor) has coveted for a while now but it looked like it wasn’t going to happen.
“However Dave persevered and due to a change in circumstances we got our chance. The people at The New Saints were great to deal with and a deal was concluded quickly and professionally so thanks to them for that.
“He is an excellent addition to the squad and I can’t wait to see him play.”
The deal would have been in place much sooner, but due to TNS playing in the League of Wales, FIFA class it as an international transfer and two Football Associations have to ratify paperwork.
International clearance has been gained for Finley to make his debut in the league opener away at Solihull Moors.
Photos courtesy of TNS.