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30 November 2017

With a foot in both camps, defender Luke Burke lifts the lid on both of his teams’ chances in the second round of the FA Cup.

  • Luke Burke ‘gutted’ to be missing clash between his loan and parent clubs in the FA Cup.
  • Danny Rowe, Sam Finley and Jonny Smith are Burke’s team mates to watch out for.
  • Burke believes the Coasters’ strong league form has them well prepared for Latics.

On loan at Mill Farm from Wigan Athletic, young defender Luke Burke is unavailable for his current loan club AFC Fylde when the two teams meet on Friday night in the second round of the Emirates FA Cup due to an agreement between both clubs at the start of the season.

It was the worst possible cup draw for Burke on a personal level as it prevented him from featuring in his ‘dream’ competition.  We caught up with the 19-year-old earlier this week to get his thoughts on a unique situation.

“I was gutted [when the draw was made].  I was sat at home watching the draw and I just knew what was going to happen when Fylde came out first, I knew the next name would be Wigan Athletic.

“It’s everyone’s dream to play in the FA Cup and go as far as possible in it, and unfortunately, I can’t be part of that on Friday night.

“Everyone’s buzzing for the game here.  Wigan are the best team in this competition now that they’re top of the league.  The manager [Dave Challinor] has been clear to all of the lads that they’re coming up against the hardest possible opponent.

“The chairman is buzzing as well, first that we drew Wigan and second that it’s on TV.”

The 19-year-old is naturally disappointed at missing out on testing himself against Latics, but he’s full of optimism and positivity about his current spell with Fylde, adding:

“I’m in a good place and being at Fylde has brought my confidence back.

“I’ve been heavily involved at Fylde and I’ve played every minute of every game that I’ve been involved in other than when I came off injured in the first round against Kidderminster.

“It was my first appearance in the main rounds of the FA Cup and it was a big occasion for Fylde because Kidderminster are the team who pushed the boys all the way last season.

“They were trying to get back at us for them missing out on promotion to us last season.  It made the game intense and it was everything an FA Cup match should be.”

So what can Latics supporters expect to see when their side arrive at Mill Farm? Burke continued:

“It’s not going to be an easy game for Wigan and the gaffer (Paul Cook) has already said that himself.

“We’ve got a good, talented set of lads who are willing to give everything they’ve got on Friday night.

“Danny Rowe is the top goal scorer in the National League so far and that really says something about his ability bearing in mind we’re not near the top of the table.

“Our captain in the middle of midfield Sam Finley is a very good player who likes to spray passes and get things moving.

“Jonny Smith on the wing is as quick as anyone you’ll see and he’ll really test the Wigan full backs on the night.

“Jordan Tunnicliffe and George Edmundson have both been solid at the back in our recent games, and Zaine Francis-Angol has been another impressive player for us who loves to battle.

“We’ve built a good run in the league recently so everyone is playing well and it’s been difficult for the manager to rotate the team.  We’re a strong group with a good understanding of how we all fit into the system.”

Fylde come into Friday night’s match with six wins from their last seven matches, including four in the National League.  It’s the Coasters’ first season at this level of English football, but Burke says his team mates and the club as a whole have taken well to their new surroundings.

“The club is a very positive place to be and the ambition the team has to do the club proud is what makes it an enjoyable place to play football.

“The standard in the National League is very high.  Some weeks we come up against players who have played in the Premier League and the Championship.  There are no easy games in the league and every team has something about them.

“If you look at our league table the points are all very close together.  We’re 16th and yet we’re only 11 points from Aldershot in first.  We’ve got two games in hand and if we win those two games we’ll be in contention for the play-off places, so things are looking bright for the rest of the season.”

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