Red-hot Preston Grasshooppers aim for six wins on the spin
Preston Grasshoppers host Hinckley on Saturday hoping to extend their winning run to six games and to avenge their heaviest defeat of the season by 49-5 back in November.
The Leicestershire club had built a big squad with a powerful pack and started the season well with six consecutive wins.
Preston were well beaten up front and their cause was not helped by two yellow cards.
But what coach Paul Arnold described as ‘a bad day at the office’ was followed the next week by a convincing win at home to league leaders Hull Ionians, while Hinckley have since fallen off the pace.
They now find themselves a place below Hoppers in the table and have not fared well on the road, losing nine from their 12 outings.
Dan Madden starts at prop for Preston after missing most of the season with injury.
None of the Sale joint registrations are available, so Ryan Carlson moves to openside and behind the scrum, Gough returns at No.9 after a late pull out before Peterborough, whilst Sam Stott starts at inside centre for the unavailable James Fitzpatrick.
Will Davidson, brother of fly-half Tom, is poised to make his debut from the bench.
Also in National Two North, third-placed Fylde play host to second-placed Chester at The Woodlands.
Vale of Lune make their first ever visit to Billingham’s Greenwood Road where the hosts are unbeaten in North Premier this season on their 4G playing surface.
At the end of November Vale secured their first North Premier victory, 21-19, against Billingham at Powderhouse Lane.
A 2.15pm kick-off means a mid-morning departure that has resulted in a number of players being unavailable because of work commitments.
However, Vale welcome back wing forward Jack Ayrton and centre Jordan Dorrington after injury, in a line-up that features flanker Bobby Holdbrook – who is making his first appearance of the season – and Ciaran Sutcliffe, a promising, young lock forward, who will be making his debut.
HOPPERS: Jordan; Spence, Hurst, Stott, Crow; Davidson T, Gough; Madden, Millea, Altham, Howard, Procter, Murray, Carlson, Lamprey.
Replacements: Miller, Purcell, Trippier, Davidson W, Jobson.
VALE OF LUNE: Ramwell; Fern, Robertson, Dorrington, Starkey; 1Briggs, Swarbrick; Stevens, Powers, Pillow, Ford, Sutcliffe, Holdbrook, Ayrton, Wallbank.