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Hoppers aiming to spoil Kendal’s party

Chris Roddy for Preston Grasshoppers in last Saturday's 60-14 win against Birkenhead Park
Chris Roddy for Preston Grasshoppers in last Saturday's 60-14 win against Birkenhead Park

After a gap of several years, Preston Grasshoppers resume their old rivalry with Kendal tomorrow – in new surroundings.

The Cumbrians have moved to a new ground this season, with, like Hoppers, an artificial pitch.

After playing four away games in order for Kendal to make sure the pitch is ready, Preston will be their first North Premier League visitors and head coach Paul Arnold says Hoppers would love to gatecrash the Cumbrians’ party.

Kendal have won two out of four to date to lie ninth, while Hoppers’ third victory last Saturday – to go with the draw at Hull – took them up to second place.

Hoppers’ only change is on the bench, where Jack Akrigg comes in as the backs replacement.

Vale of Lune continue to run riot at the top of North One West, with four successive victories that have seen them run in 196 points.

This weekend, they are home to Altrincham Kersal whose two wins, one draw and one defeat leave them in sixth place.

Harry Finan, a replacement last Saturday, starts at fly-half for Vale, with Ben Dorrington moving to centre. Evan Stewart returns to the back row.

Struggling with injuries, Fylde host Rosslyn Park, 
who are 11th in National 
One.

They started with a victory but have lost their last three, while Fylde have not yet picked up even a bonus point in four bruising defeats which have seen their opponents rack up 175 points to 
Fylde’s 53.

Coach Warren Spragg said: “I would be worried if we were in the same position in February then that would be very serious for us, but not now.

“If you pull off back-to-back wins, then that would move you into a position back up into mid-table.

“There is still plenty of time.”

Fylde will be without combative back row forward Dave Fairbrother for the vital home clash.

Fairbrother, a forceful presence in the pack, has been stood down after suffering a head injury while playing for the Royal Navy in a representative match in the United States.

Spragg said of Fairbrother: “He got concussed while playing over there and will have to pass a head assessment before he can play again.”

Fylde are likely to rely on much the same starting line-up that played at Plymouth Albion last Saturday and went down to a 68-15 defeat.

Hoppers: Jordan; Trueman, Stott, Fitzpatrick, Crosley; Hunt, Squirrel; Mabaya, Millea, Altham, Roddy, A Murray, Gale, Trippier, Lamprey. Replacements: Madden, Arnold, Akrigg.

Vale: Ramwell; Jacques, B Dorrington, Owens, Hall; Finan, Swarbrick; Cowey, D Baines, Pillow, Fellows, Foxcroft, Ayrton, Stewart, S Wallbank. Replacements to be announced.