Gillingham v AFC Fylde
Gillingham have a break from league action this week and have a great opportunity to progress into the next round of the FA Cup against non-league AFC Fylde.
The Gills drew 1-1 away with the National League North outfit to earn a replay earlier this month with striker Mikael Mandron scoring their goal. Since then, they have knocked Premier League club Brentford out of the Carabao Cup on penalties which should give them confidence they can do well in this competition as well. Boss Neil Harris will be hoping to see a response from his team as well after their 2-0 home loss to Northampton Town last time out and has said that the ‘effort’ was there from his players. The Kent side have received a boost on the injury front with attacking midfielder Ben Reeves returning from injury and he injects more quality into their ranks. He came off the bench against the Cobblers over the weekend and is a proven performer in the Football League. Former Newcastle United goalkeeper Jake Turner, who helped Gillingham beat Thomas Frank’s Brentford in his last appearance, is expected to start between the sticks again instead of Glenn Morris as he has been the cup ‘keeper and has proving to be a bright young prospect. The Gills should have too much for a team who are two leagues below them as Dagenham and Redbridge await to see who will play them in the second round.
Fylde are 8th in the sixth tier and have made a slow start to the season by their standards. Promotion is no doubt the aim for them but they are currently outside the play-offs. They beat Darlington 2-1 away in their last game with midfield pair Tom Walker and Nick Haughton on the scoresheet. Speaking after that one, interim boss Andy Taylor said he was ‘pleased’ with the result but will be under no illusion how tough of an opponent Gillingham will be next up. He is still poised to be in caretaker charge for the next couple of games as the hunt for James Rowe’s permanent replacement goes on. The Coasters have welcomed defender Luke Burke back from his loan spell away at Buxton and the ex-Wigan Athletic man gives them another option to choose from in defence with Taylor himself labelling him like a ‘new signing’. However, despite Burke’s return, Fylde are still vulnerable to conceding goals which is a worry and they didn’t keep a clean sheet against Darlington. They have let in 17 goals in 15 games so far this term and will be in for a tricky test against Gills attackers like Mandron and Hakeeb Adelakun.
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