Fylde face league strugglers

Gareth Gore - missing on Saturday

Gareth Gore - missing on Saturday

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Fylde RFC welcome a Richmond side fighting for their lives in National League One on Saturday (3pm).

And coach Mark Nelson says it is a clash that sums up the nature of the league

Richmond slipped into the relegation zone after suffering a 39-34 home reverse to Worthing.

And Nelson said: “This is my beef about the league – because only one team can get promoted and there is no play-off place to aim at, teams like us who are at the top end of the division are having to face sides that are down at the bottom and highly-motivated by negativity and fighting against relegation.

“It could be that under the present structure that is going to be the case for ever and a day.

“Now there is talk that the league above us, the Championship, is going to be ring-fenced, so there will be a glass ceiling at the top end of level three.”

Fylde will be without second rower Gareth Gore for tomorrow’s visit of Richmond.

Nelson said that the lock suffered a broken nose and had “serious ankle issues”.

The Fylde coach added: “Gareth needs a break, so we are taking him out of the firing line for a week.

“Roger Banks, who has been training well, comes into the side and I am sure he will step up to the plate.”

Warren Spragg is still sidelined with concussion and Oli Brennand returns.

Centre Scott Barrow is out with a knee injury, while front row Adam Lewis is unavailable.

Nelson explained: “Pete Altham comes in on the bench for Lewis, though he would have done anyway because of our rotation policy.”

While Fylde were picking up two bonus points in a high-scoring affair at Cinderford last Saturday, Richmond were also involved in a high-scoring match as they went down to Worthing Raiders.

In a pulsating game of 10 tries shared evenly between the sides, Worthing clinched victory when number eight Liam Perkins crossed for their fifth and final try 11 minutes from time.

Fylde: Viney; Rath, C Briers, S Briers, Brennand; Johnson, De La Harpe; Birchall, Rylance, Griffiths, Banks, Arnold, Robinson, Stewart, Beaumont. Replacements: Altham, Burtonwood, Vernon, Webb, Lawton.