AFC Fylde boss ready to recreate past Emirates FA Cup heroics when they face Wigan

Thursday 30 Nov 2017
Friday night's match represents the furthest AFC Fylde have ever progressed in the Emirates FA Cup

National League side AFC Fylde face a tough task against League One’s Wigan Athletic in the Emirates FA Cup this week – but the north-west outfit have an ace up their sleeve.

The club is managed by former Tranmere Rovers defender Dave Challinor, who was part of one of the great underdog FA cup teams of modern times.

In the 1999-00 season, Challinor’s Tranmere beat a succession of Premier League sides to reach the sixth round and also claimed a place in the League Cup final, where they lost out to Leicester City by 2-1 at Wembley.

AFC Fylde v Wigan Athletic
  • The Emirates FA Cup
  • Second Round Proper
  • Mill Farm
  • 7:55pm, Friday 1 December 2017
  • By Richard Dore
That was the first time Rovers had ever reached a major final, but their heroics didn’t end there.

The next season, Challinor and his team-mates put together another extraordinary FA Cup run, beating Everton 3-0 at Goodison Park and coming back from 3-0 down to beat Southampton 4-3 before finally losing to Liverpool in the sixth round.

Now, having turned his hand to management, Challinor says he’ll draw on those experiences to aid Fylde’s cause in the first tie of this weekend.

“There are some similarities between the clubs and as manager, you’re always going to take bits from dressing rooms you’ve been in,” said Challinor.

“If you’ve got any experiences you can use to help the players then you will do, but I also think just because it’s the FA Cup the players don’t need any extra motivation – it’s special and everyone knows that.

“We [Tranmere] had a really good dressing room but ours was a bit different, we had good cup runs in both competitions but we were struggling a little bit in the league and those runs got us through the season.”

Lancashire side Fylde are a relatively new club, founded in 1988 and originally known as Kirkham & Wesham, before adopting the new name after winning the Buildbase FA Vase in 2008.

That Vase win was remarkable in itself, with the club winning the competition in their first ever year of taking part and beating Lowestoft Town by 2-1 in the final at Wembley thanks to two late goals from 17-year-old Matt Walwyn.

And Challinor says there are still plenty of people around the club who have fond memories of that day.

“Obviously David (Haythornthwaite, chairman) and Dai (Davis, president) have been a big part of that but there’s others behind the scenes too, like our kitman Mick Baldwin,” he added.

“Bob Davey our match secretary was around then too. Hopefully, probably similar to me, they’ve seen the club rise from nothing to where it is now and they’ll feel really, really proud on Friday.”

Emirates FA Cup history
This is the furthest Fylde have ever been in the Emirates FA Cup, but they have reached the first round proper three times, most recently losing 3-1 to Millwall in the 2015-16 season.

Wigan have, of course, gone all the way in the competition, winning the trophy in 2012-13 with a famous 1-0 win over Manchester City at Wembley Stadium thanks to a late Ben Watson header.

Did you know?
Since 2007 Fylde have won promotion five times.

The Prize
The winners of Friday night’s game will earn £27,000 and a place in the third round proper.

By FA Staff