A tough test for Hoppers

Head coach Garth Dew

Head coach Garth Dew

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The visit of league leaders Macclesfield tomorrow presents Preston Grasshoppers with potentially the toughest home game of the National League Two North campaign.

After a third successive defeat last Saturday – and a second in a row at Lightfoot Green – head coach Garth Dew said: “It won’t get any easier with Macclesfield coming here.

“But this season we have tended to play better against the top teams and what better time to turn things round than to beat the league leaders.”

In an effort to achieve that and pull off a shock victory, Hoppers shuffle their back division.

Scott Jordan moves to full-back, Lewis Allen switches to fly-half, Harry Reddick comes in on the wing and Harry Moulding returns at scrum-half after injury.

Will Lees is missing from the back row, to concur with concussion protocols, so John Mackenzie moves to flanker and Ryan Feeney comes into the second row.

Luke Proctor and Charlie Hough are back among the replacements.

Hoppers, are ninth after nine victories, three draws and 10 defeats – the last three of those by seven points of 
fewer.

At home, they have six wins, a draw and four defeats.

The game kicks off at 2pm so that it ends in good time for the England-Wales clash at 4pm.

Vale of Lune also kick off at 2pm as they too stage a postponed game, hosting Warrington in a North One West fixture called off on January 16.

The hosts still have Dan Baines and Charlie Lomas injured, while Adam Macluskie is unavailable this weekend.

Fergus Owens will be at full-back and Wayne Blythe on the wing. Alex Preston props, with Ollie Cowey hooking.

Eight points and two places separate Vale from fourth-placed Warrington, who have played one game more.

The visitors have won 12 and drawn two while defeats in their last two games – and four of their last five – mean they have lost six in all.

Away from home, they have lost three and drawn one of their last four for a total of five victories, a draw and four defeats.

Fylde have a weekend off in National One, having caught up on their rearranged fixtures.