Coasters seek winning cup ‘Edge’

Challinor - Blyth is more important

Challinor - Blyth is more important

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AFC Fylde manager Dave Challinor will send his side out for the Doodson Cup Final against Skelmersdale on Sunday with a winning mentality, but he insists: “Blyth Spartans on Wednesday night is more important.”

That is when Challinor’s side resume their home campaign to earn promotion from the Evo-Stik Premier League, but before then AFC Fylde will hoping to augment their Lancashire FA Trophy triumph over Chorley with victory over Skem at Edgeley Park.

It will be a return to old haunts for Challinor as he played there for Stockport County in their Championship days.

He said: “It is a break from the league and another bonus game for us. It’s an important one that we want to win. We are 21 matches unbeaten and we want to keep that run going.

“But our priority is the match with Blyth.

“There are a couple of injuries that we have to deal with, Dave Hankin and Andy Russell, and we could risk them not being available for the Blyth game if we play them on Sunday. That is something I will have to weigh up.

“Skelmersdale had a bad run but they have won their last two matches and will be trying to start off a good, unbeaten run of their own to get in the play-offs.

Challinor added confidently: “If we play as well as we did when we beat Chorley in the Lancashire Cup at the Reebok, then it is a match that we are capable of winning as well if we play to our potential.”

It will be a rare Saturday afternoon off for Challinor without any action.

With one eye on promotion prospects, he said: “I will be looking out for all the results in the league to see if someone has done us a favour!”

Fylde have two long-term casualties out for the remainder of the season, Luke Denton and Matty Hughes.

The Doodson Cup final will follow the lead of Premier League and Football League clubs by kicking off at 3.07pm to mark the 25th anniversary of the Hillsborough disaster,.

The match will kick off sevens minute late as a mark of respect for the 96 Liverpool supporters who died on that day at the FA Cup semi-final when Liverpool met Nottingham Forest.

The match at Hillsborough ended six minutes after kick-off time on April 15, 1989. A minute’s silence will be observed at grounds from 3.06pm.

It is a gesture appreciated and welcomed by Challinor.

“I remember the day well as a Liverpool fan and I know families who lost relatives at Hillsborough.

“It was surreal watching it unfold on television. It is good that the inquest is taking place again and that the families get justice at last.”