Hoppers still a work in progress

Paul Arnold in action for Preston Grasshoppers this season
Paul Arnold in action for Preston Grasshoppers this season

Preston Grasshoppers player/coach Paul Arnold admits there is still plenty to work on despite his side’s fine start to the season.

The men from Lightfoot Green have adapted well to life in the North Premier after last season’s morale-sapping 
relegation from National League One North.

After the opening month or so of the campaign, they find themselves in second spot after an unbeaten start to the season, which has garnered five wins and one draw from their first six games.

While pleased with his side’s ability to dig out results – none more so than last weekend’s narrow 27-26 home win over Kirkby Lonsdale – Arnold admits he has been less than impressed with some aspect of his team’s play.

“I think we set ourselves a little target to stay unbeaten through these first six weeks,” said Arnold, who took control in the summer.

“We have managed to do that. Ideally, we would have liked to have won all six games.

“But we’ve only dropped three points out of a maximum 30.

“I don’t think we can be 
fully happy with how we are performing on the pitch. There are still things to work on and improve on.

“I just think we are getting lost in games at times – going away from our strengths. We score a few tries and then we start playing like its a sevens game. We are running the ball about a bit too much.

“I think our discipline as well – if you look at last weekend against Kirkby Lonsdale – we scored five tries to their two but only won by a point. I think that tells you all you need to know.”

Tomorrow Hoppers are without a game – one of the side effects of relegation is more weekends off this season due to the smaller number of clubs in their respective league.

It is something which 
Arnold is not too unhappy about as it hands extra time for his injured men to recover and also prepare for an interesting trip next Saturday to Rossendale, coached by an old rival as player and coach, Mark Nelson.

“We now have a week off to regroup and it also gives us time to get back some of the lads carrying knocks,” Arnold added.

In North One West, Vale of Lune also have a day off,but Fylde are in action in National One, at home to Coventry in a clash of clubs from either end of the table.

Fylde dropped back to last place after last week’s defeat at Ampthill while Hull Ionians were picking up their first win of the campaign.

At the other end of the 
table, Coventry have won six out of six and picked up five bonus points, to be three points clear of the pursuing pack. So it is another stern test for coach Warren Spragg’s young team.