Hoppers got that winning feeling

Sean Taylor misses Hoppers game tomorrow

Sean Taylor misses Hoppers game tomorrow

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Now Preston Grasshoppers have that winning feeling back, head coach Michael Lough is adamant they are not about to surrender it against Luctonians on Saturday.

In hanging on to beat Otley 13-12 last weekend, the Hoppers banished a seven-game losing streak and, for now, eased any worries of being sucked into an SSE National Two North relegation battle.

Lough believes his side’s epiphany came in a hard-fought defeat to Stourbridge two weeks ago yet insists the turnaround is far from complete.

“It was very important to start winning again when we have gone on such a long run without one, you do wonder where the next victory is,” he said. “But now the momentum is back our way we are looking to improve on it.

“I think the turning point came not last week, but the week before against Stourbridge even though we were beaten.

“The small changes we put into place had happened and were able to continue in that same vein even though conditions were terrible and we made numerous player changes.

“I think it’s about controlling the game – if you play rugby near your own half you’re at a disadvantage and we played in theirs for large parts of the game, though to their credit they came back at us.

“Though we’re not looking at the league yet it’s absolutely right that if you do beat teams around you at the bottom, you’ll be in a comfortable position towards the end of the season.

“We wouldn’t be panicking yet but players would ask themselves ‘is this going in the right direction?’ so I’m delighted the changes have taken place, but it must continue against Luctonians.”

Last time the two sides squared off the Hoppers prevailed by a single point on their travels – but Lough is wary that Luctonians are not afraid to mix it up.

“We beat them by a point the last time we played them but they had a lot of strike and resolve in their play,” he added. “It took us a bit by surprise, using their backs more than they have done in the past.

“We were able to dominate them in our forwards play so it was a bit of a reversal. So to their credit they have shown they can vary their play and we’ll have to be on guard for whatever they will throw at us.”