Elliott returns on wing for Hoppers

Alex Baines returns for Vale of Lune tomorrow
Alex Baines returns for Vale of Lune tomorrow
Have your say

Preston Grasshoppers head for Stourbridge for a clash of the clubs currently placed ninth and 10th in National League Two North.

Both have won five games, but the Midlanders also have one draw and six defeats, while Hoppers have lost seven, including their last three away fixtures.

Preston will be bolstered by ending a three-game losing streak at home to Luctonians last Saturday.

They have seven bonus points to Stourbridge’s six, so only one point separates them from a side which has won two, drawn one and lost two at home.

Last year’s meetings were something of a disaster for Preston, who lost 44-6 away and 31-13 at home, making it six successive defeats by Stourbridge.

Tahir El Mahdi is unavailable this week, so Anthony Elliott returns on the wing.

Otherwise Hoppers stick with the same starting line-up, with Jack Banks again at lock while Reece Tomlinson completes his two-match ban .

In North One West, Vale of Lune host Widnes, who beat them 13-10 away and 18-10 at home last season.

This time around, only two points separate them, with Widnes fourth and Vale sixth.

The Lancaster side has won five out of six at Powderhouse Lane, including the last four in a row, and six out of 11 in all.

Injured Adam Mcluskie misses his first game of the season for Vale, bringing a debut at fly-half for second-team regular Neil Walker, who also plays rugby league for Heysham Atoms.

The only other change sees Alex Baines back from injury at No.8, with Malcolm Fowler dropping to the bench.

In the same league, Kendal also tackle a side which did the double over them last season – Kirkby Lonsdale.

The more southerly of the two Cumbrian clubs is riding high, eight successive victories taking them to second place, just a point behind Birkenhead Park.

Kirkby Lonsdale have won their last four away games after losing their first two and have nine victories and two defeats in total.

But Kendal have won all six home games in an overall record of eight victories and three defeats, to lie third, just five points behind tomorrow’s visitors.

Fylde and Cinderford fought out two close games last season in National One, the Ansdell men winning 35-29 at home but losing 32-29 away.

This time, though, they sit in fourth place, despite last weekend’s mauling at Ealing, while Cinderford are next to bottom after just two victories and 10 defeats – and six losses in a row on the road.

However, they have suffered several close defeats and beat Wharfedale at home last Saturday. Scrum-half Ryan de la Harpe is back from international duty with Namibia, Ben Vernon returns to the back row after his three-match ban and Danny Maher starts at hooker, with Tom Burtonwood on the bench.

Hoppers: M Murray; Elliott, Baines, Russell, Jordan; Allen, Whyte; Mbaya, Mills, Altham, Banks, A Murray, Napier, Lees, Taylor. Replacements: Tuff, McGuinness. Walker, Kindred, Wolf

Fylde: Spragg; Dorrington, Briers, S Rawlings, Brennand; Johnson, de la Harpe; Birchall, Maher, Lewis, Arnold, Robinson, Vernon, Stewart, Beaumont. Replacements: Griffiths, Burtonwood, Goodman, Kenyon, Nicholls

Vale: Weekes; Birchall, Lamberton, Dorrington, Curran; Walker, Swarbrick; Hesketh, D Baines, Pillow, Charnley, Wallbank, Barker, Garnett, A Baines. Replacements: Fowler, McLaren-Dorrington, Bird