Hoppers look for home comforts

Matt Rogerson is back after injury for Vale of Lune against Kirkby Lonsdale
Matt Rogerson is back after injury for Vale of Lune against Kirkby Lonsdale
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Preston Grasshoppers head coach Michael Lough believes his side can get back to winning ways at home when Hull come to town tomorrow.

Lough’s side lost 24-11 at league-leaders Darlington Mowden Park last time out and are hoping to get back on track against Hull, who are one place below them in National League Two North.

However, Hoppers are on a miserable run of just one win in nine matches, having also lost their last five games in front of their home fans.

But Lough insists his team have not been affected by the losing streak and can turn the corner against Hull.

“It’s an extremely important game, said Lough. “Hull are a decent outfit, they’ve strengthened the squad since we played them last but I believe we’ve got the game to beat them.

“Morale amongst the players is not that bad.

“These things happen in a season, it’s just the way it 
goes.

“We’ve had a hard time with injuries and things haven’t gone our way in certain 
games.

“We’ve got to take the emotion out of it and play to our game plan.

“We need to work on our set-pieces and be a bit more clinical in forward areas on the field but I cannot fault the effort and application of the players.

“From the outside it looks like we are on a difficult run, but we’ve had a few injuries and we’ve got players coming back now.

“We just have to keep playing and stick to our game plan.”

Despite being satisfied with the performance against table-toppers Mowden Park, Lough believes that playing against Hull will present a different challenge completely.

“It’s all very well losing admirably to teams when you’re not expected to win,” he said. “But it’s different when you’re playing against a team in your sort of area of the table, so we are not getting ahead of ourselves.

“The fans at home are brilliant and they can definitely help us get a win with the support they give us.

“We need to get safe and then plan for next season.”

Rich Morton moves up from the bench to lock to counteract a heavy opposition pack, while Sam Wallbank moves to blind side and Killian Wallace drops to the bench.

Phil Mills starts and Allan Holmes returns to the replacements to cover as hooker, while young scrum half Harry Moulding makes his 1st XV debut.

Elsewhere, Vale of Lune will select their starting line up from a squad of 19 players ahead of their North One West fixture at Kirkby Lonsdale, which includes forward Matt Rogerson and threequarter Rob Ward, who are both returning from injury.

Flanker Alex Baines is ruled out following a knee injury sustained against Wilmslow last Saturday.

And winger James Curran is unavailable but lock Gareth Tudor returns after being unavailable for the Wilmslow fixture.

Local rivals Kirkby Lonsdale have only lost twice at home in league fixtures this season and last week won 8-5 at Underley Park against 
Kendal.

Earlier in the season Vale won at Powder House Lane 46-31 at the end of October.

But they will be fully aware that on their last visit to Kirkby Lonsdale’s turf they were turned over in a lacklustre performance.

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