I would like to welcome today’s opponents, Hull Ionians, to the Woodlands for what is a crucial game for both teams going into the final stages of the season. Ionians have strengthened and improved since we played earlier in the season and have been causing teams higher up the table a lot of trouble. We know this means we are in for a real battle if we are going to come away with a much needed win this afternoon. 

Last week’s result is probably what everybody outside the playing squad would have expected, but inside the group we felt like we missed an opportunity. We knew that Coventry would play a pressure game where they force you into your own half and compete heavily, and we matched the challenge for about 50 minutes. 3 yellow cards either side of half time meant we made life even more difficult for ourselves and eventually we conceded a number of tries in a short period of time towards the end. I made some comments after the game where I voiced my frustration about the touchline behaviour of some of the Coventry coaching team. Our game is one where the core values set us apart from other sports, and we have a responsibility to be mindful of these at all times. 

Although our future in terms of league position is still in the balance, the Fylde members and supporters should be pleased to know that a large number of the current playing squad have already committed their future to the club for next season. On a personal level I feel that this is because they have faith that my vision for the future at Fylde, and they can see that there are big steps forward being made in the off field support for the players. For those of you who are concerned with rumours about players moving on I can assure you that we are in a strong position and message board gossip is mostly idle rumours or individuals trying to create unrest at other clubs. 

Finally, I would like to extend the warmest welcome to all our former 1st team players who are at the club this afternoon. You are the people who created the history and memories that the current crop are trying to live up to and I hope that today’s team gives you a performance that you would like to have been a part of yourselves. Please grab some of the young players after the game to share your experiences and passion for the club. I am sure it will give them confidence and reassurance that our future will be as bright and colourful as our history. 

Enjoy the game!