And so to Bed for travel-weary Dew

Reece Tomlinson

Reece Tomlinson

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Preston Grasshoppers make the long journey to Bedfordshire tomorrow for what they know will be a tough first-ever visit to Ampthill and District, second in National League Two North.

fter missing out on promotion from the Southern section of National Two in a play-off last season, Ampthill found themselves transferred into the Northern division.

There, they topped the table for the first 10 weeks of this campaign, before being overhauled by Hull Ionians, who are now four points ahead of them.

But Ampthill have won all nine home games so far so it will be a tall order for Preston.

Hoppers head coach Garth Dew said: “It’s a tough trip as it’s a long journey.

“But Ampthill have been a bit up and down recently and the lads will be lifted by our performance against Stockport.

“A win is good for confidence and we believe we can go there and get a 
result.”

Hoppers ended a run of five successive defeats last Saturday against lowly Stockport but Ampthill have the best attack and defence in the league, scoring 672 and conceding just 237.

In addition, Preston have lost their last six on the road after winning both their opening away fixtures and have just six victories out of 18 in total.

Hoppers make changes, both front and back.

Scott Jordan is unavailable, so Lewis Allen starts on the wing, and Billy Woof returns at centre, with Tom Hurst on the bench.

Rich Morton replaces prop Pete Altham, who dislocated a finger last week, and Reece Tomlinson resumes at lock after serving a one-week ban, with Ally Murray moving to the back row to complete a sizeable-looking pack.

In urgent need of stopping the rot in North One West, ninth-placed Vale of Lune visit Bolton, who are 11 points and two places below them.

Vale have now lost five in a row and, after winning their first away game, have lost six in succession on the road.

Overall, they have six victories and nine defeats, while Bolton have won five and lost 11, with three victories out of seven at home.

Ian Bird is missing this week, so Adam Macluskie switches to centre and Charlie Lomas to fly-half, with Rob Lamberton starting on the wing after coming off the bench last week. The pack remains unchanged.

Fylde will be hoping to do something about their indifferent away form in National League One, when they visit Loughborough Students.

Simon Griffiths and Sam Beaumont are out through injury, but skipper Evan Stewart is fit to return to the Fylde back row.

Adam Lewis takes over from Griffiths at prop and Tom Burtonwood returns as hooker. Tom Lavelle, back from a spell down under, provides front-row cover from the bench.

Hoppers M Murray; Lewis, Russell, Woof, Baines; Zavallis-Roebuck, Kindred; Madden, Mills, Morton, Tomlinson, Banks, A Murray, Napier, Taylor. Replacements: Tuff, Mabaya, Lees, Reddick, Hurst.

Vale: Weeks; Birchall, Macluskie, Dorrington, Lamberton; Lomas, Swarbrick; Hesketh, Powers, McLaren-Dorrington, Barker, Foxcroft, A Baines, Garnett, Wallbank. Replacements: Pillow, Dobson, Owens.

Fylde: Spragg; Dprrongton, Briers, S Rawlings, Brennand; Johnson, de la Harpe; Birchall, Burtonwood, Lewis, Arnold, G Rawlings, Vernon, Robinson, Stewart. Replacements: Lavelle, Rylance, Goodman, Bedlow, Hughes.