By Stephen Burton
New Blyth manager Terry Mitchell faces a daunting first test as his Spartans side travel to National League North leaders AFC Fylde on Saturday.
Under the stewardship of interim-boss Michael Barron, Blyth were knocked out of the FA Trophy last weekend at the hands of York City. However, the 1-0 defeat was harsh on a Spartans side that created several chances, only to find former-keeper Peter Jameson in fine form.
It will of course be Mitchell’s first game as Spartans boss, however there could also be a debut on the pitch as well for new signing Sado Djalo, who arrived from Dunston UTS last week.
However it’s another remarkable milestone for Blyth legend Robbie Dale that will likely steal the show on Saturday. If he plays, it’ll be his 700th appearance in a Spartans shirt.
AFC Fylde currently sit two points clear of Brackley Town at the top of National League North, with manager Jim Bentley overseeing a formidable home record. The Coasters are yet to be defeated at home in the league this season, winning six of their seven games, with their solitary draw coming against Brackley.
Last weekend they were also in FA Trophy action, winning 1-0 at home to Gateshead thanks to a late goal from Emeka Obi.
WHAT WE’RE SAYING
Speaking to BSFCTV in his first interview as Spartans manager, Mitchell said: “I’m delighted to be at Blyth Spartans, they’re probably one of the biggest non-league clubs in the North East.
I’m very confident we can climb the league table. The lads proved it in the first eight games, they only lost one. They had a bit of a sticky spell, but the last couple of games with a win and a good performance on Saturday, hopefully we’ll have gotten over the bad bit and it’s up to myself and Graeme to drive them on.”
The fans are outstanding here. They’re probably the best in the North East. The demand high standards of their players but they’re fantastic supporters. I’m really looking forward to hopefully giving them a team to be proud of.”
WHAT THEY’RE SAYING
Bentley spoke after his side’s win against Gateshead last weekend. “The game never really got going today, it was a disappointing afternoon even though we won the game. I expect more from us, I expect us to be better, but the most important thing is that we’ve won the game.
All our energy and focus now is our next game on Saturday. We’ve got to have a good week leading up to that.”
LAST TIME WE MET
Despite being in the same league last season, the teams never actually met due to the curtailment of the season.
Because of that you would need to go back to April 2014 for the last meeting between the sides, in the Northern Premier League. On that day Fylde 5-1 winners at Kellamergh Park with Arjun Purewal grabbing a consolation for Blyth.
A match ticket is required in order to access the stadium. AFC Fylde do not have cash turnstiles but operate a ticketing website which allows all fans to purchase tickets in advance. This can be found on www.tickets.afcfylde.co.uk.
General admission prices are from £18 seating and £12 standing for adults and £10 seating and £6 standing for under 16s.
If fans don’t purchase in advance they will need to purchase tickets from the ticket office and may encounter some slight delay.
Join Niall Bromley and Phil Castiaux on Blyth Live from 2:45pm.
Alternatively, you can follow the game via our social media platforms.