Blaydon runners to test Fylde

Simon Griffiths - comes in at lock
Simon Griffiths - comes in at lock
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Fylde embark on a testing pre-Christmas run of games on Saturday when they entertain in-form Blaydon.

With a trip to Wharfedale looming the following Saturday, coach Mark Nelson said: “We are playing the two form sides in National League One in successive weeks.”

First up is Blaydon, who extended their unbeaten run to 10 games in their latest fixture after a comfortable 45-14 win over Worthing at Crow Trees

Lock Roger Banks, who recently clocked up his 200th appearance for Fylde, will miss tomorrow’s match because of a hamstring injury, which has troubled him recently.

Simon Griffiths moves up to lock the scrum with Paul Arnold in the continued absence of Gareth Gore, who recently had a successful operation for a broken nose.

Banks played in the away win over Henley Hawks last Saturday, but was withdrawn after 69 minutes.

He has been pulled out of the fray tomorrow, Nelson explaining: “Roger didn’t train during the week before the Henley game because of the hamstring problem and we pushed it to the limit by playing him there.

“Talking to our physios, he would run the risk of something snapping if he played against Blaydon and could put himself out for between four and six weeks.

“Griffiths is well used to playing in the second row and we will need his presence there because Blaydon’s game is based on their power up front.”

Number eight Sam Beaumont will again miss tomorrow’s match with a shoulder injury.

Nelson said: “Beaumont’s injury is not as bad as the shoulder injury that needed an operation in the summer, but it is something that we have to be very careful with - we need to take advice about when he can play again.

Of Gore’s state of fitness, Nelson said: “The operation on Gore’s nose has proved to be successful, but with something like that it needs time to heal.

“We are not expecting Gore to be back before Christmas.”

Fylde (probable): Viney; Spragg, Hough, C Briers, Brennand; Johnson, De La Harpe, Birchall, Burtonwood, Lewis, Arnold, Griffiths, Robinson, Vernon Stewart. Replacements: Altham, Rylance, Thompson, S Briers, Webb.