Coasters spending to earn promotion

Preston North End's Deepdale
Preston North End's Deepdale
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AFC Fylde will have to spend money on their Kellamergh Park home after Preston North End turned down a proposal to ground-share Deepdale.

The ambitious Conference North outfit made tentative enquiries about the possibility of using PNE’s pitch next season – should they win promotion in May.

Dave Challinor’s men are riding high near the top of the table after a terrific first season at this level of football.

They find themselves in second spot in the table – just two points behind leaders Barrow, with a couple of games in hand.

However, the Coasters’ current home Kellamergh Park does not meet the ground grading criteria for the Conference Premier in its present form.

And with the foundation stones still to be laid on the club’s proposed multi-million pound stadium on the outskirts of Wesham, Fylde will not be able to move into their new home until the summer of 2016 at the earliest.

Without an alternative plan, Fylde will not be able to take their place in the top flight of non-league football should they achieve promotion.

Having enquired about the possibility of ground-sharing with three neighbouring Football League clubs – including North End – Fylde appear set to spend money on Kellamergh Park to bring it up to the required standard.

Fylde chairman David Haythornthwaite said: “We have looked at ground sharing.

“We looked at Blackpool but we would not want to share their ground because their pitch is so bad and we are a team that like to play football.

“I called my friend Andy Pilley at Fleetwood Town and he politely declined.

“He said that they’ve got a great pitch and they didn’t want anybody else playing on it. I understand that. When we get to our new ground, we want to protect our pitch.

“That is your most important asset if you are a football team and you want to play football.

“We talked to North End through David Robinson, who is on the Board there.

“David is our architect, but I think Preston did not want to do it for whatever reason.

“It’s something we looked at and explored. Those three clubs were our only options really.”

To upgrade Kellamergh Park for Conference Premier football, the club will have to fork out £75,000 to improve its facilities.

“If somebody has said to me at the start of the season, ‘Give me £75,000 and it will get you in the Conference’ – I would have taken it,” Haythornthwaite said.

Meanwhile, Fylde can go back to the top of the table tonight if they defeat Boston United at home.

The Coasters have hit a rocky patch over the last few weeks – losing three on the spin.

Meanwhile, Chorley can reach the final of the Lancashire FA Trophy this evening with victory over Holker Old Boys at the LFA’s County Ground.

The Magpies will be huge favourites to reach Bolton Wanderers’ Macron Stadium against the North West Counties’ outfit.

Lancaster travel to AFC Farsley in the quarter-final of the Doodson Cup. Kendal Town host Spennymoor in the NPL First Division North.