Winning run the target for Hoppers coach

Adam Macluskie (right) makes his 100th appearance for Vale of Lune tomorrow

Adam Macluskie (right) makes his 100th appearance for Vale of Lune tomorrow

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Herefordshire side Luctonians are the visitors to Lightfoot Green tomorrow, when Preston Grasshoppers will be hoping for a win after a run of three defeats.

But with teams below them picking up points over the last few weeks, they have dropped dangerously close to the relegation zone.

Coach Garth Dew said: “Our recent tough run of games has now led to three defeats on the bounce and that makes the game against Luctonians a must-win affair.

“We are entering a run of winnable games leading up to the Christmas break.

“Last weekend, against Harrogate, was a bit of a farce from the first kick to the last.

“An injury to Jack Ward and a red card within first 10 minutes meant we were always going to be up against it.

“What was pleasing was the endeavour of the lads throughout the contest and I’m sure the performance has strengthened the bond between the players.

“On a positive note, we have a few players returning this week from unavailability, illness or injury and that should give a real boost to the 
squad.

“We also have a new exciting signing in the form of Scott Jordan, who has joined us from Wharfedale, having moved to the local area.”

Tahir El Mahdi – who is on loan from Sale and had a promising debut against Chester – should be fit again and will bring extra pace on the wing.

Jack Banks steps up from the 2nd XV for the suspended Reece Tomlinson, while Billy Woof joins the bench.

Vale of Lune recorded their highest North One West points victory of the season so far – 81-12 – at home to Wigton last Saturday.

Not surprisingly, they retain the same starting line-up for tomorrow’s visit to Broughton Park (2.15pm).

The only change Vale make in their squad is on the replacements’ bench, with back row forward Alex Baines returning after injury.

Stand-off Adam Macluskie is due to make his 100th 
first-team appearance, after making his debut at Fleetwood at the beginning of the 2007/08 season.

The versatile threequarter has scored 20 tries.

Broughton Park are in sixth place in the table with 31 points and, although they have won seven games against Vale’s six, they trail them by three points, due to the visitors having accumulated 10 bonus points.

Vale have never found Hough End a happy hunting ground and although they won there last season, it was their first league victory on Park territory since the 2000/01 season.

Broughton Park have only suffered one home defeat this season, against Wilmslow at the beginning of October and have subsequently put together an unbeaten run of five games, which includes a home victory against Kendal by 27-21.

Elsewhere, Fylde travel to Vallis Way’s artificial pitch to meet unbeaten league leaders Ealing Trailfinders tomorrow (3pm).

With Fylde in third place, this is the top National One game of the day between the two most attacking teams.

Hoppers: Murray; Jordan, Baines (capt), Russell, El Mahdi; Allen, Whyte; Mabaya, Mills, Altham, Banks, Murray, Napier, Lees, Taylor

Vale of Lune: Weeks; Birchall, Lamberton, Dorrington, Curran; Macluskie, Swarbrick; Hesketh, Baines, McLaren-Dorrington; Charnley, Wallbank (capt); Barker, Garnett, Fowler