AFC Fylde (h) – FAC R1 – 07/11/15

AFC Fylde BadgeLast Saturday’s hard-fought goalless draw with Bradford City meant that Neil Harris’ Lions finished a difficult period of league games in 7th place in the League One table. Millwall have not tasted defeat on their own patch since September 19th and have not conceded in four matches at The Den, but this weekend, they face a completely different challenge altogether. AFC Fylde, top of the Conference North, enter the Lions Den hoping to progress into the Second Round of the FA Cup. Assistant Media Manager at the ‘Coasters’, Jack Connor, provides this cup edition of ‘The View From The Opposition’…

Name: Jack Connor

Twitter: @fyldereporter

First AFC Fylde game: The 2008 FA Vase Final (when the club were known as Kirkham and Wesham) – I was 13 and two late goals won it for us. We had around 4,000 fans at Wembley that day; it was a day I’ll never forget.

Greatest moment following AFC Fylde: Despite the FA Vase success, it would have to be the Northern Premier League Play-off Final in 2013/14. We played Ashton United and got a late equaliser and it went all the way to penalties. Our goalkeeper scored the decisive penalty – he’ll never have to buy a pint in Kirkham again!

For those that don’t know, who are AFC Fylde? Give us ‘the idiot’s guide’, so to speak…: AFC Fylde are a small (but on the up) club based in Kirkham and Wesham, a small town roughly equidistant from Blackpool and Preston. We’ve risen up the leagues quickly in the last decade and have a target to be in the Football League by 2022. (Find out more about Fylde HERE.)

You are flying high in the Conference North – in fact, you couldn’t be any higher at the moment – what is the story behind the success in the league?: I think a lot of the praise has to go to our manager, Dave Challinor. He has brought an entertaining, fresh attacking style to the club and his recruitment is fantastic. I think a lot of sides last year were caught unaware a bit – we certainly showed what we could do. This year we are doing very well again – hopefully it continues.

Just how big is this FA Cup game for AFC Fylde as a club? I assume a healthy contingent will be travelling south with the team?: This is arguably the biggest game in the clubs history. This is the third time in four seasons we have made the First Round; we have come up short both times, so hopefully that changes this weekend. We had over 100 fans travelling down to Plymouth last season and I would expect a bit more this time – about 150 to 200.

Who are AFC Fylde’s ‘ones to watch’ on Saturday?: There are a few, to be honest. Danny Rowe is a powerful striker who can hit a bit harder than anyone I’ve ever seen. Danny Lloyd is a tricky winger with bags of pace and Matty Hughes is a quick, agile forward who will cause some problems. Dion Charles is another winger who has established himself as one of our key players since he started playing regularly towards the end of last season – he has since earned a place in the England C squad.

Likewise, are there any Millwall players that you will be wary of?: I watched the highlights of the Doncaster game last week and Steve Morison took his goals very well. I know Ed Upson can provide something special, too. Hopefully our lads can deal with them. (You won’t be seeing Ed Upson, Jack – he’s injured!)

How do you see the game going?: Obviously, we go into the game as huge underdogs, but we did so against Plymouth and we gave them a big scare. We arguably outplayed them for most of the game and if it wasn’t for their keepers’ fantastic saves, we should have at least forced a replay. I think the result will depend on how we cope with the first half hour or so. Taking it to a replay would be a fantastic result – coming to Kellamergh Park on a Tuesday night would provide a lot of Lions fans with a bit of a culture shock!

Score Prediction: Millwall 2-0 AFC Fylde.

Jack’s Team Prediction: Matt Urwin; Caspar Hughes, Dominic Collins, Tom Hannigan, Alex Whittle; Richie Baker, Josh Wilson, Sam Finley; Dion Charles, Danny Rowe, Matty Hughes.

The FA Cup First Round tie between Millwall and AFC Fylde takes place at The Den on Saturday, November 7th. Kick-off is at 3pm.