Coasters exit for Barnes

Striker Michael Barnes
Striker Michael Barnes
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AFC Fylde have parted company with long-serving striker Michael Barnes.

The former Manchester United player is looking for a new club, with derby rivals and hometown Chorley reportedly talking to him.

The 26-year-old joined the Coasters in 2009, after spells with Shrewsbury, Northwich Victoria, Southport and Halifax Town, and went on to make 250 appearances.

He played an integral role as Fylde rose from the North West Counties League to their current position in the Conference North.

Although he made 35 appearances for the Kellamergh Park outfit last season, Barnes struggled with injuries and only managed to find the back of the net six times.

Coasters boss Dave Challinor said: “Barnesy has been great for us over the three-and-a-half years I have been at the club and has been a mainstay in the side.

“Our pace in wide areas is something we’re renowned for and he has been a big part of that.

“Unfortunately, from our perspective we had to make a difficult decision about Barnesy’s future as he’s been out for long periods over the last two seasons with injuries.

“As he was one of our top earners, we can’t afford not to not have him involved and this – combined with the emergence of Dion Charles and Cory Bent – led us to this decision.”

Barnes won the players’ player of the year award and supporters’ club player of the year award for two seasons running and was successively named in both the NPL First Division North and Premier Division teams of the season.

He also scored twice and received the man-of-the-match award in the Lancashire Cup final against Chorley when the Coasters ran out 4-1 winners in 2014.

Challinor added: “From Michael’s perspective, due to the nature of his day job, even the travelling to and from training in the evenings was becoming hard work.

“He has a tough job, a young family and getting the balance between football and family is obviously important.

“He’s not decided where his next challenge is but goes with our best wishes and with the knowledge he’ll be welcome back at the club any time.”