Preston Grasshoppers will aim to extend winning run

It is back to business tomorrow for Preston Grasshoppers, with a top-four test in the North Premier League.

Friday, 15th October 2021, 8:00 am

After last Saturday’s break, second-placed Hoppers will be defending their three-match run of home wins, when Billington, who are two points and two places behind them, make only their second trip to Lightfoot Green.

Both clubs’ only defeat to date is at the hands of leaders Otley, while Billington have also won three and drawn one, compared to Hoppers’ four victories out of five.

Hoppers will also be looking to continue their free-scoring form, having racked up an impressive 212 points, second only to Otley’s 216.

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Paul Arnold’s side were winners last time out a fortnight ago, beating Sandal 56-12 (photo: Mike Craig)

The injury situation at Preston is improving, with just Noah Miller, Will Clapham and Tim Walker on the “long-term” list of absentees.

Winger Jacob Browne is back this week in the only change from the win at Sandal a fortnight ago.

It is a different story for Vale of Lune in North One West, with work commitments and injury forcing six changes from their last outing, the narrow home defeat by Bowdon.

Vale head to Manchester, over whom they did the double three seasons ago but who are currently four places higher after three wins and two defeats. Vale are eighth following two victories and three defeats.

Skipper Andy Powers, in his favoured role of hooker tomorrow, even though he has played in almost every position for the first team since 2010, will be celebrating his 200th appearance.

Jacob Thomas and Alex Briggs are the half-backs this week, with Harry Finan switching to centre and a late decision to be made on who fills one of the wing berths.

There is another top-four clash in National League Two North, when Fylde tackle the local derby at Sedgley Park.

Park top the table after five wins and a draw, but fourth-placed Fylde are only a point behind following their five victories and one defeat.

Their last scheduled visit to Park fell victim to the Covid outbreak after they had won the game at Ansdell 17-10.

Hoppers: J Dorrington; Browne, Stott, B Dorrington, Meadows; Pearson, Squirrell; Mabaya, Taylor, Altham, L Procter, Naylor, Murray, Gale, Lamprey. Replacements: Trippier, Harrison, Spence.

Vale: Ramwell: AN Other, Humpage, Finan, Fern; Briggs, Thomas; Branford, Powers, O’Heirhir, Tagg, Fellows, Cross, Ayrton, Wallbank.