Elliott backs Boston United to push highflying AFC Fylde as Pilgrims look to maintain unbeaten start to National League North season

Scott Duxbury will return to Fylde. Photo: Oliver Atkin.Scott Duxbury will return to Fylde. Photo: Oliver Atkin.
Scott Duxbury will return to Fylde. Photo: Oliver Atkin.
Club return to action after isolation period...

Craig Elliott is backing his Boston United squad to shake off the cobwebs as they return to action at title-challenging AFC Fylde, looking to maintain their unbeaten start to the season.

The Pilgrims travel to the north west to face the Coasters, who currently sit third in the National League North table, on Saturday.

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Elliott labelled Fylde a 'massive rival' for the title a fortnight ago, before the original fixture between the sides was postponed. The Coasters would offer a stern test for Boston under normal circumstances, even more so now they return to action following a fortnight's self isolation and having not completed a match in four weeks.

But Fylde - currently under the leadership of Nick Chadwick after manager Jim Bentley began shielding ahead of an upcoming operation - appear to be having their own problems at the moment.

They began the campaign with seven straight wins in all competitions. But since then they have recorded just the one victory (a 1-0 success against Spennymoor Town) in their past five matches.

A 2-1 FA Cup defeat against league Two Exeter City, a league 2-0 league reverse at Curzon Ashton and 1-1 draws at Alfreton Town and Leamington have seen them fail to keep the pace with leaders Gloucester City and be overtaken by Kidderminster Harriers.

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It was a case of missed chances coming back to haunt them at Leamington on Tuesday evening, the 10-man Brakes levelling late on as chances went begging.

Jay Rollins in action during United's last visit to Fylde, four years ago. Photo: Eric BrownJay Rollins in action during United's last visit to Fylde, four years ago. Photo: Eric Brown
Jay Rollins in action during United's last visit to Fylde, four years ago. Photo: Eric Brown

Indeed, scoring freely has been something of an issue for the Coasters so far this campaign, their 2-0 success over Farsley Celtic the only one of their five league wins which wasn't by a one-goal winning margin.

They have scored 10 times in eight league contests to date, their record of 1.25 goals per game the same as rivals Gateshead but only bettering Southport (1.1) in the top nine.

In contrast 11th-placed United have scored 2.25 goals per game, although they have only completed four league games to date.

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But the fear for Elliott is that Fylde continue to create chances, and he knows his defence will have to be at their usual standards at Mill Farm on Saturday (KO 3pm).

New signing Mitch Rose. Photo: Getty ImagesNew signing Mitch Rose. Photo: Getty Images
New signing Mitch Rose. Photo: Getty Images

"We'll have to play a certain way against them to counteract what they're doing," Elliott said of Fylde's passing game.

"But I think we play good football as well so it should be a good game.

"Our defence has been good for a long time, we're consistently doing very well defensively."

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Elaborating on Fylde's preference to play out from the back, the Pilgrims manager added: "They've played like that for a good few years, they have their certain way of playing.

"I think the big thing is they're full time. Anybody who's full time should be be up there, as I've said before."

Saturday's trip to Mill Farm will be United's first since their 9-2 thrashing in November 2016.

Jay Rollins, who scored both United's goals that game, is the only member of the team that day still wit the Pilgrims. He could feature for the first time this season after overcoming injury.

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Saturday's contest will also see Boston left back Scott Duxbury return to former club Fylde while new signing Mitch Rose could make his debut.

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