Basement boys visit gives Arnold jitters

Oli Trippier
Oli Trippier

It’s a top-v-bottom clash for Preston Grasshoppers tomorrow when they visit stragglers Morley in the North Premier League – and, says head coach Paul Arnold, “these are the games that scare me more.”

He adds: “We have got to make sure that we don’t get complacent against sides at the lower end of the table.

“But we have just got to keep knocking off teams week in, week out.”

The old Roses rivals, who haven’t met for seven seasons, have made very different starts to this campaign.

Leaders Preston are now unbeaten in 11 games (one of them drawn), while last-placed Morley have won just once, with one draw and nine defeats.

Arnold switches himself to the bench this week, with Jack Granby starting at lock. Ollie Trippier replaces the injured Sam Gale in the back row and, with Alex Hurst unavailable, Niall Crosley moves to centre and Tyler Spence comes in on the wing.

November was frustrating for Vale of Lune in North One West, with victory on November 4 followed by a home defeat and two postponements.

So they will be hoping for better things in December, starting with tomorrow’s top-two battle with Warrington at Powderhouse Lane.

Warrington are one point behind after eight wins and three defeats, but Vale have two games in hand, having also won eight but lost only once.

Prop Jack Ferguson is back after a hand injury and Harry Fellows will team up with Al Crookall at lock.

Fylde sank deeper into the National League One mire with their 10th defeat in 12 games last Saturday leaving them 12 points from safety.

Tomorrow, they host Bishop’s Stortford for the first time. The visitors are sixth, following eight victories, one draw and three defeats, and are on a bit of a roll, going unbeaten in their last six games.

Hoppers: Jordan; Trueman, Crosley, Stott, Spence; Ward, Squirrell; Mabaya, Millea, Altham, Roddy, Granby, A Murray, Trippier, Lamprey. Replacements: Purcell, Arnold, Akrigg.

Vale: J Dorrington; Jacques, Owens, B Dorrington, Hall; Finan, Swarbrick; Fergson, Powers, Pillow, Fellows, Crrokall, Ayrton, Swarbrick, Wallbank. Replacements: Cowey, Cvijanovic, Higgin.