Season’s not going to get any easier for Preston Grasshoppers
Given their parlous position in National League Two North, the last thing Preston Grasshoppers would have wanted over the next two weekends is a trip to a club which scored more than 100 points last Saturday, followed by a visit from the runaway leaders.
Unbeaten promotion favourites Caldy come to Lightfoot Green next Saturday, but first Hoppers have to negotiate tomorrow’s game at Chester, who routed bottom club Scunthorpe 109-12 last weekend.
The Cheshire side eased to a 27-10 victory at Preston in November.
With four wins, three draws and 16 defeats, next-to-bottom Hoppers have lost their last four home games and are on a run of six fixtures without a win. They have also failed to win their last 11 games against Chester.
The weekend off has allowed a number of injuries to clear up, with the experienced Matt Lamprey fit to return at No.8 after a lengthy spell out.
Also back are Scott Jordan at full-back, Nick Gregson in the centre, Chris Taylor and Noah Miller in the front row and Sam Wallbank on the bench.
Jordan Dorrington and Tyler Spence are the wingers, with Jacob Browne among the replacements, alongside Oga Mabaya, Olly Trippier and Toby Harrison, who all started against Hinckley.
Fylde remain second in National Two North, six points clear of Hinckley and nine ahead of Sedgley Park, who have a game in hand.
Tomorrow they travel to Loughborough Students, whom they comfortably defeated 33-7 at Ansdell in November. .
In North One West, Vale of Lune moved up to ninth a fortnight ago and face a hard-to-call home game against Broughton Park tomorrow.
Park lost 22-20 at home to Vale in November, the clubs’ first meeting for four seasons.
Vale have lost their last four home games in an overall tally of eight wins and 11 defeats. Tomorrow, they have Billy Swarbrick back at scrum-half, with Alex Briggs switching to centre. Vittorio Bianchi returns at prop.
Hoppers: Jordan; J Dorrington, Gregson, Stott, Spence; Prior, Squirrell; Blanchard, Taylor, Miller, Howard, Murray, Carlson, B Dorrington, Lamprey. Replacements: Mabaya, Trippier, Wallbank, Harrison, Browne.
Vale: Manning; Fern, Kyle, Briggs, Busby; Finan, Swarbrick; Bianchi, Powers, Pillow, Cvijanovic, Fellows, Snell, Ayrton, Robinson, Replacements: Dokter, Tagg, Hesketh.