Consistency is the key as Preston Grasshoppers take on Leicester Lions

Ally Murray is available for Hoppers (photo by Mike Craig)
Ally Murray is available for Hoppers (photo by Mike Craig)

After the disappointment of last weekend’s postponement at a frozen Macclesfield, Preston Grasshoppers return to their own all-weather pitch tomorrow to host Leicester Lions.

Neither side has shown too much consistency in National League Two North this season. Ninth-placed Hoppers lost two of their three home games in January and have only once put together a run of three successive victories in their overall record of eight wins and 12 defeats.

The Lions, meanwhile, have earned three of their eight victories away from Leicester, but lost at home last Saturday after winning at Sedgley Park the week before.

In total, they have lost 12 times and drawn once, to be 12th in the table, three points behind Hoppers, whom they defeated 26-24 in October.

Hoppers stick with the 20 who were scheduled to turn out against Macclesfield last week. They include Ally Murray, who faced a ban but had two of his three yellow cards rescinded by a disciplinary committee.

Fylde, whose triumph at Peterborough Lions last weekend lifted them to second place while others were frozen off, are at home to Hinckley. Fylde, with 14 victories, a draw and six defeats, are now level with leaders Hull Ionians on points, but most of their rivals have games in hand.

There is another daunting task for Vale of Lune as they head for North Premier League leaders Hull, who have put together a 17-game winning streak since losing on the opening day.

They won 41-5 at Powderhouse Lane in October – one of 13 defeats for Vale, alongside three victories and a draw, which leaves them next to bottom.

To add to Vale’s worries, only 11 of the 18 on duty against Alnwick a fortnight ago are available tomorrow. Absentees include Damon Hall, Steve Swarbrick, James Robinson, Sam Wallbank, Jordan Dorrington and Jack Ayrton.

Ross Pillow resumes at prop, To’I Aualitia switches to hooker, Andy Powers and Luke Ford come into the back row, Lee Starkey makes his debut at scrum-half and Ethan Robertson and Jonty Higgin are in the threequarter line.

Hoppers: Pope; Jordan, Hurst, Fitzpatrick, Spence; Davidson, Gough; Mabaya, Millea, Altham, Howard, Carlson, Murray, Leatherbarrow, Lamprey. Replacements: Miller, Trippier, Procter, Stott, Trueman.

Vale: Ramwell; Robertson, Higgin, Owens, Fern; B Dorrington, Starkey; Pillow, Aualitia, Yates, Foxcroft, Fellows, Fourie, Powers Ford. Replacements: Spavin, Kyle, Briggs.