High-flying AFC Fylde seem to be making the most of their new Mill Farm home, with striker Danny Rowe certainly relishing life in their new surroundings.




In two prolific seasons with the Coasters, Rowe has plundered nearly seventy goals for the club.

Now just over two months into the 2016/17 season the former Stockport County player has already hit the back of the net on nineteen occasions, making him the top goalscorer in the top eight tiers of the English football pyramid.

Rowe has already walked away with a match ball twice this season, after a fine hat-trick at home to Curzon Ashton and he also hit four goals in the Coasters dramatic 5-3 win at Alfreton Town.

He puts his fine form down to one thing; confidence.

“I have done well since I have been at Fylde but at times I have been in and out of the side over the last two seasons.

“This season have been in the side regularly and that has made a big difference to my confidence.

“I feel settled in lots of different ways.

“I am a local lad, I am settled here in my third year and things are going well.

“I enjoy playing for the club and we are improving this season.
afc fylde

“I feel confident, I feel like I can keep scoring and I just want to keep on improving my game”

After gaining promotion into the second tier of the non-league pyramid in 2014. the ambitious Coasters have found themselves frustrated by two play-off defeats.

In their first season in the Conference North(now the National League North), they narrowly missed out on the league title, with Barrow pipping them by just two points.

Play-off heartache was to follow as Guiseley completed a 3-1 semi-final aggregate win, before going on to seal promotion with a 3-2 win over Chorley.

More disappointment was to follow in the end-of-season lottery last season, although this time they went one step further.

A 2-1 aggregate win in the semi-final against Harrogate Town set up a play-off final against their old Evo-Stik Northern Premier League foes North Ferriby United.

Again they were left disappointed, with the Villagers condemning Fylde to a third season in the National League North with a 2-1 win.

Rowe was brutally honest in his assessment of his side’s performance last season, stating that he felt they didn’t do enough to earn promotion.

But now he has set his sights on carrying on their impressive start to the 2016/17 season, in the hope of finally sealing that elusive National League promotion.

He said “I thought last season we didn’t deserve to go up if I am honest. We deserved to be in the play-offs but we didn’t deserve to win it. We didn’t play well, we had no consistancy.

danny rowe“The season before, despite the fact Barrow went up, I think we were the best side in the division and maybe we deserved to go up then.

“This year we look strong, we look confident and I don’t think we have even played to our maximum yet.

“Going full-time has been a big change and I don’t think we have clicked but we will get better and keep pushing.

“We are playing well but not the way I think we can, if we do I think we have a very good chance of promotion”

If, and it remains a big if, the Coasters can gain National League status it will take them to within one promotion of securing their much-publicised target of acheiving a Football League place before 2022.

Their progress so far owes much to the backing and ambition of chairman David Haythornthwaite.

Haythornthwaite is now in his tenth year at the club, with his initial involvement coming with main sponsor Vetplus in 2006.

Since then he has taken over as chairman and overseen a transformation on and off the pitch, as well as their move into their impressive new Mill Farm home.

Rowe believes that the club is ready to kick on, but insisted that the high standard of this season’s National League North means that they can’t look beyond their immediate target of promotion.

“The Chairman is ambitious, he loves the club, he backs it constantly” said Rowe.

“He wants to take it as far as he can, which in my opinion is a lot higher than the National League North.

“I think he will do that but it will take time to get through the leagues.

“This year, this league is tough, you can’t walk this league.

“It is a very tough division, full of good sides and we will have to play well to get out of it.

“That is all we are focusing on for now”

But what of their new home?Mill Farm 2 2

Rowe has certainly settled into his new surroundings, scoring the first Mill Farm goal in the 3-3 draw against newly promoted Salford City in August and has rarely stopped scoring since.

When asked about the impact of Mill Farm he admitted that he is enjoying playing at a bigger venue, but believes that it also acts as a motivation for the opposition.

“The stadium is a lot better than the previous stadium, where the pitch was always good but the ground was built for a lower level.

“This stadium is for the level we are at, or probably even higher than this, which for the lads is a great motivation.

“Everything looks professional but that can work against you.

“Opposition sides raise their game coming here, it’s easily the nicest ground in the league to visit and it motivates the opposition so we have to raise our own game”

If Rowe does indeed continue to raise his game then his 2015/16 goalscoring tally of thirty seven goals could come under threat during the current campaign.

He is already halfway to improving on that performance in front of goal but he brushed off talk of setting targets, preferring to focus on sealing promotion into the National League.

“People keep asking about targets, but no I don’t set them.

“It’s hard to say and although I have set off well, anything can happen.

“Touch wood I don’t want an injury but they can happen.

“Yes, I would like to improve, to get over thirty but at the moment all I want to focus on is carrying on scoring goals and getting us into a position where we can get promoted”

Interview: Mark Carruthers (@marknldaily)
Images: AFC Fylde


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