FA Cup: Ex-Man Utd midfielder combines football and hairdressing

By Nathan MiddletonBBC Sport
Michael Potts
Potts (right) never made a first-team appearance for Manchester United

When you start your footballing education at Manchester United, you probably do not imagine yourself playing part-time and working as a hairdresser.

That is the career path AFC Fylde midfielder Michael Potts, 22, has taken after he spent a decade at Old Trafford progressing through their academy.

Fylde are at League Two Plymouth in the FA Cup first round and Potts is hoping to catch the eye.

"You never know who is watching," he told BBC North West Tonight.

"If you play well and put in a performance against Plymouth, then you never know what managers are going to be there.

"It's a great occasion for me because the Football League is where every non-league player wants to be.

"Playing against Plymouth it's kind of a test to prove you are good enough."

Michael Potts
Michael Potts (left) has been a key part of the side that sits second in the Conference North

After being released by United, Potts moved to Blackburn in 2008 but failed to make an appearance at Ewood Park and spent two years at York City, before a one-year stint at Guiseley last season.

He joined AFC Fylde in the summer after their promotion to the Conference North and the Lancashire part-timers have been in impressive form - they were on a 14-game unbeaten run until they lost 3-1 at Boston last weekend.

They did reach the FA Cup first round two years ago, but midfielder Will Hatfield scored all four goals as Accrington won 4-1 at Kellamergh Park.

"The club is definitely on the up - the way they do things, prepare for games, training - it's all professional and done like you were full-time really," Potts added.

"It's a special cup for everybody. In non-league everybody looks forward to the FA Cup, every game is like a cup final to a non-league club because they want to play against Arsenal, Manchester United or Chelsea."

The Coasters are managed by former Tranmere, Stockport and Bury defender Dave Challinor, who has forged an impressive managerial CV in non-league football.

AFC Fylde manager Dave Challinor
Dave Challinor
After starting at Tranmere he made over 400 professional appearances at Rovers, Stockport and BuryIn 1998 he held the world record for the longest football throw with an effort of 46.35m
The centre-back was part of the Tranmere teams that reached the FA Cup quarter-final in 2000 and 2001, as well as the League Cup final in 2000Challinor is a qualified physiotherapist having studied at University of Salford

Following his retirement from the full-time game in 2008, he joined Colwyn Bay, who were then a mid-table side in Division One North of the Northern Premier League.

After captaining the club to promotion via the play-offs in 2010, he was appointed manager and helped them achieve their second straight promotion.

With the Seagulls sat in a top-10 spot in the their first season in the Conference North, Challinor moved to AFC Fylde in November 2011 and twice achieved promotion to take the club up to the level he had left.

"We've got to make sure everything that goes on this week, we enjoy it, take it on board and learn little bits," he told BBC Radio Lancashire.

"Hopefully we go and put in a good performance and show on a national stage against a Football League team what we're about as a team.

"It's an opportunity that doesn't come around an awful lot but you've got to enjoy the day - and you'll do that by performing well and if possible getting a positive result."

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