Challinor keeping one eye on top job

AFC Fylde's James Dean

AFC Fylde's James Dean

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Ambitious AFC Fylde manager Dave Challinor makes no secret of the fact that his long-term aim is to land a managerial job with a Football League club.

And nothing would delight the former Tranmere Rovers and Stockport County defender more than pitting his wits against Chorley boss Garry Flitcroft on a professional level.

The two men go head to head once more tomorrow when the Coasters welcome the Magpies to Kellamergh Park for a NPL Premier Division derby encounter.

But Challinor, 37, believes himself and ex-Blackburn Rovers skipper Flitcroft, 40, have the potential to make a success of it back in full-time football.

Challinor said: “I speak to Gaz quite a bit, and it’s not just since I became manager of Fylde – even when I was at Colwyn Bay I used to speak to him regularly.

“I think Gaz is very similar to me – he wants to get back in full-time football.

“I know that he’s had a couple of opportunities where he’s been very close to getting a Football League job.

“I think he’s doing really well as a manager – he’s had some great success at Chorley over the past couple of years.

“Hopefully, he will get a chance at a higher level in the future.

“He’s played at the highest level and, like myself, wants to move into management in the Football League.

“But for both us it’s a case of keep working hard, keeping your head down and hopefully something will come up somewhere down the line.

“I’m still learning – I’ve only been doing this job for two or three years and Gaz is not much longer than that.

“But this level of football is a really great level to learn.

“Coming from professional football – like we both have done – there are a lot of different challenges that we haven’t faced before and there are some massive eye-openers in terms of part-time football.”

Challinor is surprised to see Chorley halfway down the table this season after they reached the play-offs last year.

The Magpies are two points above their opponents tomorrow, but have played seven more games than the Coasters.

After an enforced break due to the weather, which interrupted the entire programme of fixtures in the league – bar one game – last weekend, Chorley returned to action in midweek.

However, it was not a happy affair as they went out of the Doodson Cup 3-2 at home to First Division North outfit Cammell Laird.

The result perfectly sums up Chorley’s inconsistent season so far, but Challinor is well aware of the quality Flitcroft possesses in his squad.

He added: “Chorley have had their troubles, what with the money which was stolen from the club during the middle of last season.

“That’s still an ongoing process – it’s still affecting them. I think they have made a lot of changes in personnel this season which is not ideal.

“They’ve had a tough run recently, but they’ve had a lot of injuries – missing key players does not help.

“They’ve been without people like Keiran Walmsley, who has been out injured for most of the season.

“But they’ve got some good players and we know it’s going to be a tough game.

“We went to their place earlier in the season and won, so there will be an element of revenge as far they are concerned.

“It will be a close game, but hopefully, it will be one we will come out on the right side of.”

Challinor admits he will just be glad to see his men out on the pitch tomorrow after three weeks of inactivity due to the weather.

The Coasters boss is slightly concerned about the amount of games the club has to fit in from now until the end of the season.

But he feels his squad is strong enough to cope.

“With the way things have gone over the last few weeks, any game tomorrow is a great game,” Challinor said.

“But obviously with it being a derby, we expect there to be a decent crowd and good atmosphere, so it’s a game we are really looking forward to.

“But we are looking at playing Saturday-Tuesday for the rest of the season, which is fine.

“I feel our squad is good enough to cope, but we will just have to play it by ear.

“We can get numbers in if we need to but, obviously, they have to be the right players.

“I’m not keen on getting players in and promising them this and that when, realistically, they are not going to play.

“I think one of the problems we might find is a lot of our games which have been postponed on a Saturday have been long away trips.

“We now find ourselves going to Whitby Town on a Wednesday night and Eastwood Town on a 

“It means a lot of the lads will have to get time off work because we will have to set off in the middle of the afternoon.”

Squad-wise, Adam Farrell, James Dean and Aaron Fleming return for the visit of Chorley.

Bradley Barnes, though, faces a race against time to be fit.