The National North League season is only five matches old, but manager Dave Challinor has seen enough already to give the verdict: “It’s harder than last year.”
AFC Fylde finished runners-up to Barrow last season, missing out on promotion in the play-offs.
And Challinor said: “It is a lot more competitive and it is going to be more difficult this season.
“There are better players, better teams and a lot of teams have strengthened their squad, promoted teams are more used to the league and the overall standard of the league has got better.”
Fylde, who have a busy Bank Holiday with an away trip to Curzon Ashton and a home match on Monday against Stockport County, were down to four fit defenders this week after it was revealed that Josh Langley had suffered a broken metatarsal.
It has led to Challinor exploring the loan market for potential recruits after Langley was laid low with the serious toe injury.
Challinor said: “Josh was injured against Gainsborough and played in the Bradford Park match, after which the two started to swell up.
“He went for an X-ray and it was found he had broken a metatarsal. It means that Josh will be out for between six to eight weeks.”
Tomorrow the Coasters travel to newly-promoted Curzon Ashton.