Aldershot Town v AFC Fylde Match Preview – Saturday 11 November 2017
On Saturday, The Shots return to National League action after being knocked out by League One leaders Shrewsbury Town last weekend. Aldershot Town welcome AFC Fylde to The EBB Stadium for the first ever meeting between the two teams.
Rob Worrall previews the action…
Manager Gary Waddock set about making some changes this week, with both Shaun Okojie (Wealdstone) and Chris Arthur (Whitehawk) going out on loan. Jake Gallagher has returned Slovakia, after playing 67 minutes for England C in the International Challenge Trophy Final. Meanwhile, Cheye Alexander is a doubt for Saturday, having withdrawn from the England C squad with a toe injury. Thankfully, scans show that there is no fracture. Bobby-Joe Taylor (knee) is back in light training, but is still a few weeks away from a return, whilst Nick Arnold will be out until at least March as he recovers from a long-term cruciate ligament injury
Opposition – AFC Fylde:
AFC Fylde were founded as recently as 1988, as Kirkham & Wesham. Going on to win the FA Vase in 2008, they then changed their name to AFC Fylde. They play at Mill Farm in Wesham, are nicknamed The Coasters, and are playing at National League level for the first time this season.
Former Tranmere Rovers, Stockport County and Bury defender Dave Challinor is in charge of The Coasters. Challinor ended his playing career and started his managerial experience at Colwyn Bay, whom he guided to runners-up spot in the Northern Premier League in his first season at the helm, eventually gaining promotion to what was the Conference North via the Play-Offs. In November 2011, he was announced as the new manager of AFC Fylde, who played at the time in the Northern Premier League Division 1 North. His impact was instant, gaining promotion as Champions in his first season and then guiding The Coasters to NPL Play-Offs the following season. They were defeated on that occasion, but completed the job twelve months later and AFC Fylde found themselves in Conference North.
Challinor led The Coasters to the top tier of non-league football as they romped to the National League North title. On a personal level, it ensured a quite remarkable fourth promotion in five years for him.
After a slow start to life at National League level, AFC Fylde have really begun to find their feet and come into the game against Aldershot Town in fine form, scoring ten goals in their last three matches, including a 2-0 home victory over much-fancied Wrexham. The Coasters have also progressed through two rounds of the FA Cup, beating Kidderminster Harriers 4-2 last Saturday, and will play at home to League One high-flyers Wigan Athletic next month.
Any review of the AFC Fylde playing squad has to start with prolific striker Danny Rowe, who scored an incredible 50 goals for The Coasters last season. He has coped well with the transition to top flight non-league football and is already into double figures this term. Rowe is usually partnered by former Lincoln City striker Jack Muldoon, who has weighed in with four goals of his own, whilst winger Jonny Smith (on a six-month loan from Bristol City) and attacking midfielder Henry Jones (Bangor) have chipped in with three goals apiece so far this season. At the back, experienced centre-back Simon Grand (ex Barrow and Salford) anchors the defence, which was bolstered by three signings from Kidderminster Harriers in the close season: Jordan Tunnicliffe, Josh Ezewele and Zaine Francis-Angol.
Aldershot Town FC and AFC Fylde have never played each other before.
Saturday’s referee is Sam Purkiss, who has refereed five matches so far this season, showing 9 yellow cards and 2 red cards. He has not previously refereed Aldershot Town this season and this is his first season at National League level.
BBC Surrey’s Rob Worrall and Shots winger Bobby-Joe Taylor will be covering the game on Saturday, bringing live commentary via the BBC Sport website or the BBC Sport App from 2:50pm. You can also contact them throughout the afternoon via Twitter. Get in touch with them by tweeting @RobShot66 and/or @BobbyJoeTaylor or posting in the Aldershot Town Fans Facebook Group.