Magpies aim to upset odds against Fylde

Darren Stephenson could line up for Fylde against his former club

Darren Stephenson could line up for Fylde against his former club

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Chorley boss Matt Jansen is hoping to throw a spanner in the works of derby rivals AFC Fylde’s National League North title aspirations.

And in doing so, he hopes to give his own Chorley team’s promotion ambitions a real shot in the arm.

The Coasters currently lead the way at the top of the table – seven points in front of second-placed Kidderminster Harriers and a further two ahead of the Magpies, who are in third.

The neighbouring clubs meet for two mouth-watering league encounters over the Christmas period with Chorley travelling to Fylde’s brand new stadium Mill Farm on Boxing Day.

They then meet each other once again on New Year’s Day at Victory Park.

The pair have become the fiercest of rivals in recent years, having followed similar paths up the non-league football pyramid, and once again they find themselves embroiled in yet another promotion battle.

Jansen admits Fylde’s greater spending power – they are backed by multi-millionaire owner David Haythornthwaite – means his men will head into both games as underdogs.

But the Magpies have enjoyed their fair share of success in the fixture over the years and Jansen sees no reason why his men cannot do so 
again.

“Obviously we are looking forward to these two derby games,” said Jansen.

“I am sure the lads will be right up for it. Fylde are flying at the top of the table.

“They have obviously gone full-time this year and have a lot of money to spend on players – a lot more than us anyway.

“They will be the favourites, but we have managed to put one over on them in the past and hopefully we can do it again. The two clubs have followed similar paths over the last four or five years.

“We started at the same position and got two promotions each. We have both done very well to get where we are.

“They are nine points ahead of us but hopefully we can claw some ground back on them.

“We know what we need to do – its not going to be easy but I see no reason why we can’t beat them.”

There is also extra spice to the fixture this year as Fylde boast two former Magpies in the shape of striker Darren Stephenson and midfielder Andy Bond.

Stephenson actually left Victory Park in the summer after being snapped up by Tranmere Rovers in the summer, while Bond featured for the Magpies last season before moving to League Two outfit Crawley Town.

Jansen attempted to bring Stephenson back to the club, but was unable to compete financially with Fylde.

“We did enquire about Darren when we found out he was available, but we could not afford him – but Fylde could,” said Jansen.

“They are able to afford players from Football League club and it shows that money talks in every league.”

Chorley will be without the suspended Stephen Jordan and the only fitness worry they have is skipper Andrew Teague, who is still searching for match fitness after breaking his toe.