Preston Grasshoppers head coach warns of complacency

Preston Grasshoppers’ head coach Paul Arnold plans to make sure his players do not rest on their laurels after last week’s near-record 99-point romp against Kirkby Lonsdale, when they travel to Rossendale tomorrow.

By Paul Outhwaite
Friday, 11th March 2022, 8:00 am

“It’ a tough away game and we have to refocus,” he said of the trip to the club which sits 10th in the North Premier League, after 10 wins and 10 defeats. Coincidentally, victory for Hoppers would be their 10th in a row.

The visitors remain second in the table, three points behind Otley with five games left and seven ahead of third-placed Blackburn. Hoppers beat Rossendale 26-6 at Preston.

Rossendale have won six out of nine at home while Hoppers have one draw, one defeat and eight victories on the road, including their last seven in succession.

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Action from Hoppers' 99-0 win over Kirkby Lonsdale (photo: Mike Craig)

After resting several of his squad last week, Arnold makes five changes to the starting line-up. Olli Trippier and Christian Taylor are back in the front row, Sam Gale returns at lock, Rob Bramhall is in the back row and Harrison Moulding is at scrum-half.

“Whitewashed” twice in successive weeks, Vale of Lune need to regain their momentum when they host Firwood Waterloo in North One West.

But after being forced into fielding a number of youngsters last Saturday, they are still without some key players through injury and unavailability.

So there is a raft of changes again, with Max Cross and Scott Manning teaming up at centre, Alex Briggs and Billy Swarbrick at half-back, Joe Stephens hooking, Steve Tagg and Tim Nicholson paired at lock and Dominic Lane and Sam Wallbank returning to the back row.

Firwood are fourth in the table, following 14 victories and seven defeats and have won four out of nine on the road.

Vale, who lost 8-56 at Waterloo, are eighth, with seven wins and 13 defeats. They have won five out of 10 at home.Fylde, up to third again in National Two North, host Sheffield Tigers, whom they defeated 43-12 in the away game. The Tigers are 10th after 10 wins out of 21, while Fylde have won 18 out of 23, including eight of their last nine. They have lost only once at home, but will be somewhat worried at conceding 102 points in their last three outings.

Hoppers: Browne; Clapham, J Dorrington, Stott, Spence; Pearson, Moulding; Trippier, Taylor, Altham, Murray, Gale, Bramhall, Harrison, Lamprey. Replacements: Mabaya, B Dorrington, Squirrell.

Vale: Ramwell; Fern, Cross, Manning,tba; Briggs, Swarbrick; O’HeIrhir, Stephens, Mount, Tagg, Nicholson, Lane, Ayrton, Wallbank.