Eastbourne Borough will be gunning for a place in the last 16 of the FA Trophy as they welcome AFC Fylde to Priory Lane tomorrow (Saturday, January 16, 3pm).
AFC Fylde, from a suburb of Blackpool, must make the 299-mile trek from coast to coast –north-west to south-east, after they beat Skelmersdale 4-0 in a replay staged on 3G at Salford Rugby League ground in midweek.
The winners of the FA Trophy clash will receive £6,000 in prize money.
Borough, who are fourth from bottom in the National League South following last week’s 2-1 defeat to basement club Basingstoke, will no doubt welcome the break from the league.
Manager Tommy Widdrington, who reached the semi-finals of the Trophy as manager of Salisbury, said, “The mood was understandably low after Basingstoke but we have had a good result in the Sussex Senior and we are looking forward to the Trophy.
“I always believe a good run in the cup can help the league form and Saturday is a good chance for us. It will not be easy, Fylde are a good attacking side, they play at the same level as us and have designs on competing at a higher level.”
Ambitious AFC Fylde have risen swiftly though the tiers in recent seasons. Under their original name of Kirkham and Wesham FC, they won the FA Vase in 2008 – knocking out Crowborough Athletic on the way – and since then, as AFC Fylde, they have climbed to National North, finishing second last season but missing promotion in the play-offs.
This season, the Coasters have been among the pace-setters and they lie fourth in the current league table. Fylde are managed by Dave Challinor, former Tranmere and Stockport defender and a man who once held the world record for a long throw-in. On Wednesday night, a hat-trick by top scorer Danny Rowe took him past the 50-goal mark for the Coasters (from 83 games).
Widdrington added, “We will give it our best. It should be a good game with two attacking teams and hopefully we can come out on top and give the fans something to cheer about.”