Magpies to renew rivalry with Coasters over festive period
There will not be any fans inside of Victory Park on Boxing Day, but Chorley boss Jamie Vermiglio does not expect there to be any less intensity when his men face derby rivals AFC Fylde.
The Coasters make the trip east to face their neighbours on Boxing Day – the two sides will meet again at Mill Farm a week later.
Over the past decade, the two clubs have enjoyed a fierce rivalry as they have followed a similar trajectory up the non-league pyramid and ironically both dropped from the National League last season.
Backed by chairman David Haythornthwaite’s millions, Fylde have made no secret of their dreams to reach the Football League and will view last season’s relegation as a minor blip.
Chorley do not have the same resources and while their ambitions are a little bit more understated, they certainly have the drive to reach higher ground and stay there.
It is fair to say neither side has dominated the rivalry over the years, with both enjoying their fair share of wins.
The Boxing Day match also has an extra tale to it as Coasters boss Jim Bentley will not be in the dugout as he continues his recovery from the heart surgery he underwent at the beginning of December. His assistant Nick Chadwick will be in charge.
"There’s certainly been a lot of recent history between the two clubs,” said Vermiglio.
“We have kind of gone neck and neck with them over the last 10 years, coming up through the leagues.
“We have a lot of respect for what they have done and how they are out there with their ambitions. They have not been afraid to say that they want to get in the Football League by a certain date.
“Credit to them for pushing on because they have done very well.
“Jim Bentley is a very good manager, who I respect. We send our best wishes to Jim because he’s not been very well.
"There is a lot of rivalry but there are also a lot of links between the two clubs as well.
“Jack Sampson and Nick Haughton are at Fylde, they played with us and we have Arlen Birch and Matty Urwin who used to be at Fylde.
"There is always a player or two who has gone from one to the other and so forth.
"It's always a special occasion to play against them whether that is home or away.
"Again there will be no fans allowed inside the stadium but I am sure they will be watching on the stream."
Fylde currently lie in third spot in the National League, while the Magpies, after a slow start, are beginning to make headway up the table.
They are unbeaten in their last seven league games and find themselves just a handful of points off the play-offs.
"Without doubt, I expect Fylde to be up there challenging for the title. They have got some fantastic players," Vermiglio added.
"Just even the ones who have been with us, Nick Haughton and Jack Sampson, they are league-winning players.
"Jim's got a good team there. I think they have struggled with some injuries but he has brought in some players with good pedigree.
"People like Nathan Pond, who has come up through the leagues with Fleetwood and has been at Salford.
"I think they have got a bit of everything. They can mix their style up, go long, go short. They have got the physicality, experience and youth.
"They have got pretty much everything you would want in a squad and it's going to be a tough challenge for us."