Former Bristol Rovers Promotion Winner Joins Non-League Coaching Staff

Former Bristol Rovers defender Nick Anderton has today been unveiled as AFC Fylde’s assistant first team coach, as announced on the club’s official website.

Even at 27 years of age, Anderton bring a wealth of EFL experience as a player to the club, having turned out for Accrington Stanley, Blackpool, Carlisle United, and the aforementioned Bristol Rovers.

Potentially best known for his stint with the Gas, the defender would make 39 appearances during his time at the Memorial Ground and would help them achieve promotion to League One in the 2021/22 season.

Unfortunately that season would be Anderton’s last in professional football as a player, with the defender announcing that he had been diagnosed with osteosarcoma, a form of bone cancer, in the summer of 2022.

Having since undergone treatment, including chemotherapy as well as a knee operation, Anderton declared himself cancer-free and is now looking to get back into the game he loves in a coaching capacity.

AFC Fylde currently sit in 22nd in the National League table, just two points off of safety. The Coasters have won each of their last two matches and new manager Chris Beech has got them playing their best football of the season at the moment.

Anderton and Beech already have an understanding of one another, with the former playing under the latter during their time with Carlisle United. The now 27-year-old was given the captain’s armband on multiple occasions by Beech, and he is obviously a person that the Fylde manager has a lot of respect for.

Speaking on the appointment of Anderton, Beech said:

“Nick has been through a tough time over the last few years, and for us to provide him with the chance to stay in the sport he loves is one that we’re proud and privileged to be able to do. His experience, together with the depth of his personal qualities and resolve, shown during his time a professional footballer are an inspiration to those around him and I’m certain that he’ll bring a unique professional skillset and ‘player-relatability’ to our backroom staff at the football club.

Writer’s View

You’ll have to look quite far to find a better feel-good story today in the footballing world with the announcement of Anderton at Fylde. With what the former-defender has been through in recent years, it is great to see him back and involved in the game.

As for Fylde, they have greatly improved in recent weeks, and employing Anderton as an assistant at Beech’s side could really help them in their fight for survival this season. Having been eight points off of safety at the start of the new year, the deficit is now cut to just two, and the Coasters might be able to pull off an unlikely escape.

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