Preston Grasshoppers will be targeting their first “double” of the season when they head for Sheffield Tigers tomorrow.
They defeated them 38-33 at Lightfoot Green in October, one of nine victories and 12 losses, which leaves them ninth in National League Two North. But only four points separate the clubs between seventh and 11th places.
On the road, though, Hoppers have won just once in 10 attempts, while Sheffield’s home record is four wins and five defeats in an overall tally of seven victories, a draw and 13 defeats.
This is the first of two successive away games for Hoppers, with the rearranged trip to Macclesfield due next Saturday.
Head coach Paul Arnold said after last weekend’s whitewashing of Leicester Lions: “The challenge is to keep it up. There are no easy games in this league but on our day we can beat anyone.
“Our first objective this season was to stay in this league and when we are safe, then we can express ourselves more.”
Prop Oga Mabaya faces a long lay-off after last week’s Achilles injury, so Noah Miller starts, with Tyler Sloane on the bench in the only changes to the squad.
Fylde also head across the Pennines for a top-four battle with Hull Ionians, who defeated them 41-29 at Ansdell in October.
Fylde went top of Two North last Saturday, but the next three in the table, who are all within three points, have games in hand.
Smarting after last weekend’s 97-point hammering by Hull in the North Premier League, Vale of Lune will be hoping for much better things when Lymm visit Powderhouse Lane.
The clubs fought out a 38-38 draw at Lymm. If Vale are to save their season, this has become a must-win game.
They will, therefore, be relieved to welcome back the likes of Damon Hall, Jordan Dorrington, Billy Swarbrick and Jack Ayrton to a squad of 19, which also includes Ben Dorrington, who will need a check on the wrist injury which forced him off last Saturday.
Vale have won three (all at home), drawn two and lost 14.
Hoppers: Pope; Spence, Hurst, Fitzpatrick, Jordan; Davidson, Gough; Miller, Millea, Altham, Howard, Carlson, Murray, Leatherbarrow, Lamprey. Replacements: Sloane, Trippier, Procter, Trueman, Stott.
Vale (from): Ramwell, Robertson, Hall, Higgin, Owens, J Dorrington, B Dorrington, Steel, Swarbrick; Pillow, Powers, Yates, Foxcroft, Fellows, Robinson, Fourie, Ayrton, Wallbank, Ford.