Preston Grasshoppers coach Paul Arnold warns of Tynedale danger

Action from last weekend's 38-33 win over Sheffield Tigers (photo: Mike Craig)
Action from last weekend's 38-33 win over Sheffield Tigers (photo: Mike Craig)

Preston Grasshoppers complete the first third of the National League Two North season tomorrow with a visit to Tynedale, who are battling to escape the relegation zone.

That is followed by a 
Saturday off for everyone 
before the six-match run-in to Christmas.

Tynedale are third from bottom with a draw, five defeats and two victories – one of them an extraordinary 59-15 thrashing of Fylde a month ago.

Hoppers have moved up to 10th following their third win of the campaign last Saturday, but head coach Paul Arnold said recent results show that: “Anyone can beat anyone else in this league. Everyone’s home form is going to be vital.”

In that respect, Tynedale have won their last two on their own patch, after drawing the previous game there, so they have a decent record since losing their first home game to current leaders Hull Ionians.

On the other side of the coin, Preston have lost all five away from Lightfoot Green.

Alex Hurst’s injury against Sheffield keeps him out of this week’s line-up, with Brad Cave replacing him at full-back. Noah Miller, Connor Johnson and Jake Squirrell come on to the replacements bench, while Hoppers’ dual-registered Sale players are unavailable due to the Sharks’ Premiership Cup game.

Fylde, now just one point and one place above Hoppers after their fourth defeat out of nine last weekend, travel to Stourbridge. The Midlanders have won five and lost four to sit in sixth place,.

Elsewhere, having finally ended their losing streak in the North Premier League with last Saturday’s high-scoring draw at Lymm, Vale of Lune return home to take on fourth-placed Harrogate.

Vale remain bottom with five points as they desperately search for that first victory.

With Jack Turton unavailable, Vale reshuffle their backs for the first meeting of these clubs at league level since 1991.

Fergus Owens switches to fly-half and Damon Hall 
returns at centre. Blake Steele is also back on the wing.

Kick-offs at Powderhouse Lane now revert to 2.15pm.

Hoppers: Cave; Trueman, Stott, Fitzpatrick, Spence; Davidson, Gough; Mabaya, Millea, Altham, Procter, Arnold, Murray, Trippier, Lamprey. Replacements: Miller, Johnson, Howard, Squirrell, Ward.

Vale: Ramwell; Jacques, Hall, Higgin, Steele; Owens, Swarbrick; Bradshaw, Powers, Tagg, Fellows, Robinson, Wallbank, Ayrton, Fourie. Replacements: Hesketh, Foxcroft, Hunt.