Park trip will not be cruise for Hoppers warns Arnold

Paul Arnold in action against Birkenhaed earlier this season
Paul Arnold in action against Birkenhaed earlier this season

Preston Grasshoppers tackle what looks to be one of their easier away games tomorrow when they visit Birkenhead Park.

Hoppers beat Park 60-14 at Lightfoot Green earlier this season but head coach Paul Arnold said: “Birkenhead Park will be a test. Can we get ourselves up for it? We’ve got to keep knocking off wins each week, but these are the sort of tests we’ve got to get through safely.”

Park are third from bottom of the North Premier League with just two victories and a draw to go with 11 defeats. That leaves them 10 points from safety.

Unbeaten Hoppers have now won 12 in a row and 14 in all. After last week’s bruising encounter with Hull, Arnold rests himself and moves front-rowers Paul Millea and Pete Altham to the bench, with Ollie Trippier and Dan Madden replacing them.

Ally Murray switches to Arnold’s role at lock and Sam Gale and Matt Frings start in the back row.

Despite playing fewer games than every other club in North One West, Vale of Lune remain top by three points as they welcome Carlisle to Powderhouse Lane.

Fylde host Plymouth Albion, who beat them 68-15 in Devon and have won 10, drawn two and lost three.

Hoppers: Jordan; Spence, Stott, Fitzpatrick, Crosley; Ward, Squirrell; Mabaya, Trippier, Madden, Roddy, Murray, Gale, Frings, Lamprey. Replacements: Millea, Altham, Akrigg.

Vale: J Dorrington; Jacques, Owens, B Dorrington, Hall; Finan, Swarbrick; Ferguson, Powers, Pillow, Fellows, Cvijanovic, Ayrton, Stewart, Wallbank. Replacements: Cowey, Crookall, Ramwell.