Preston Grasshoppers keen to snap three match derby losing streak against Fylde

​​Preston Graashoppers and Fylde head towards the festive break with the latest instalment of their long-running local rivalry.
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Fylde won 41-27 at Lightfoot Green in September and did the double last season, while Hoppers have to go back to the 2018/19 campaign for their last victory over their neighbours, although they did force a draw a year later.

Kick-off has been brought forward to 2pm due to ongoing problems with the Ansdell floodlights.

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Fylde are currently sixth, following five victories, a draw and six defeats, while Hoppers are 11th, nine points behind, having played one more.

Match action from the derby encounter earlier in the season (photo: Mike Craig)Match action from the derby encounter earlier in the season (photo: Mike Craig)
Match action from the derby encounter earlier in the season (photo: Mike Craig)

They will be looking to end a run of three successive defeats and add a fifth win of the season - all four so far coming away from home.

Preston director of rugby Alex Keay says: “If we bring out our first-half performance of last week, we’ll be fine.”

He says the atmosphere of a local derby like this means league positions have no bearing: “You have got to take all the emotion out of it and just play.”

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This will be Fylde’s first game for three weeks, and then they have another fortnight off before the rearranged home game with Hull. Hoppers won’t be in action again until January 13.


Fylde will be making late checks on the availability of one or two players, while Hoppers bring in Sam Townsley at lock for the injured Ellis Causey. Scott Richardson is back from injury and starts on the bench alongside Kiwi Mike Ashdown, who has impressed with the seconds.

After a three-game winning streak came to an end last Saturday, Vale of Lune look to get back on track in Regional Two NorthWest when they host Crewe and Nantwich.

The Cheshire club are third in the table, with nine wins and just two defeats. They are seeking a fourth victory on the trot.

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Vale are seventh, following four wins, a draw and six defeats. They lost 17-27 at Crewe and Nantwich in September.

Matthew Davenport hooks this week, Damon Hall returns at full-back and Josh Mitton is paired with Eddie Abdelghafar at centre.

​Hoppers: Haigh; Lightowler, Browne, Keohane, Spence; Hunt, Brand; Pope, Holden, Williams, Murray, Townsley, Riley, Dorrington, Longson. Replacements: Parkinson, Ashdown, Norrington, Richardson, Gosling.

Vale: D Hall; Dodge, Milton, Abdelghafar, Fern; Silverwood, Swarbrick; Oyston, Davenport, Stevens, J Wallbank, Fellows, Walton, C Hall, Ayrton.

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