AFC Fylde have been handed a tough draw against Vanarama National League side Gateshead in the third round of the FA Trophy.
The Coasters saw off Eastbourne Borough 4-1 at the weekend to reach the last 16 and now face another difficult away trip as they edge towards a Wembley final.
Eight ties were pulled out of the hat, although only two of those, Dover Athletic v Guiseley and Gateshead v AFC Fylde, are confirmed at the moment due to the outstanding remaining second round fixtures which are scheduled for this week.
Third round proper ties are scheduled to be played Saturday 6th February and winning clubs who progress will receive £7,000 from The FA’s prize fund.
Coasters’ boss Dave Challinor was excited at the prospect of pitching his wits against a higher ranked club.
“It’s an exciting draw and one that we are now very much looking forward to,” said Challinor. “With the teams left in the draw there was a good chance that we were going to be pitched against a side from the division above.
“It could have been worse, but I suppose it could have been better. It’s another away trip in the competition and an opportunity to go to a new ground and play against a team in the division that we aspire to be in.
“Hopefully we can show them that we are a good side like we did at Eastbourne on Saturday.
“In a one-off game we know anything can happen. We showed against Millwall, who are quite a bit further up the ladder than ourselves, that we can certainly compete at a higher level. We know the step up to the league above is a big one, especially as the majority of the sides are full-time.
“We want to go up there and show what we can do. Looking at the bigger picture it’s another chance for us to progress and be a couple of rounds from a Wembley final.
“I’ve not come up against Gateshead in a competitive fixture before, but we are very aware of them. They have been up near the top of the conference for the last few years and they have been in the play-offs on at least one occasion.
“They had a bit of a change around in the summer with the manager leaving and the new manager they brought in didn’t really work. So Neil Aspin has come in and steadied the ship and they are having a decent season so far.
“Next job is to have them watched and put a plan together to try and reach the next round.
“We in a good run of form and we haven’t lost many games throughout the season. We will go into the game looking to win as we do with every game. There’s no doubt it’s going to be difficult, but Gateshead will also be expecting a tough game and hopefully we won’t let them down.”