Fylde gear up for frenzied February

Fylde host Coventry on Saturday

Fylde host Coventry on Saturday

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Fylde RFC bid for a belated, sorely-needed first victory of 2017 when they take on Coventry at the Woodlands on Saturday.

The match against their long-standing Midlands rivals marks an important period in the home side’s season.
Seven days after the meeting with Coventry, Fylde make the trip to fellow strugglers Hull Ionians, and there is no denying that they meed to get something out of both matches.
Fylde’s foothold in National League One gets more precarious by the week as they bid to keep out of the bottom two relegation places.
They were dragged further into trouble last weekend, for while they were losing 29-21 at Plymouth Albion, rivals Blaydon bolstered their prospects – and edged closer to Fylde – with an outstanding 28-11 win over Blackheath as they upset the formbook.
It left Fylde in 13th place, only seven points clear of Hull Ionians and Blaydon, who have both played a game less.
It was a valiant effort by Fylde to push Plymouth so close and they were denied the consolation of a losing bonus point when they conceded a late penalty.
Regardless of the outcome of the meeting with Coventry, Fylde supporters will still find themselves preoccupied with results from elsewhere.
Blaydon have the most difficult of tasks in the entire National League One programme with a visit to take on soaraway leaders and champions-elect Hartpury College, who have a 100 per cent record of 20 victories.
Bottom club Macclesfield host Cambridge, who are not out of danger themselves.
Cambridge have hit poor form at precisely the wrong time and have not won a match in six.
Esher, who are also too close to the relegation zone for comfort, can do themselves a favour with a win at home to Hull Ionians, who host Fylde on Saturday week in what is building up to be one of the most important clashes for the Ansdell club in recent seasons.
Whatever the outcome of all the matches tomorrow up and down the country, nothing will be decided as, after that, there will be nine matches and nearly three months of the season still to go.
Two teams, rather than three, will be relegated following the liquidation of Championship club London Welsh.
When the two sides met earlier in the season, Coventry scored a resounding 53-24 victory in October.
Coventry go into the match in seventh place, having won 10 matches at home; of the seven defeats they have suffered, six have been away from home.
Fylde have a new face in their matchday 20 tomorrow in the shape of prop forward Leighton Taylor.
The former Sedgley Park and Rossendale front row forward was registered with Fylde this week and is named on the replacements bench.
With Simon Griffiths injured against Plymouth, Jonny Wild comes into the starting XV.
Skipper Chris Briers, who was fly-half against Plymouth, takes the place of Warren Spragg at full-back.
Scott Armstrong returns on the wing, as does Greg Smith at fly-half to assume the kicking duties again.
Prop Jake Pope is unavailable as he is away on England Under-20 duty.
Forward George Nott is unavailable as he is needed for the Sale Sharks’ squad.
Fylde: Briers; Bailey, Wilkinson, Bedlow, Armstrong; Smith, Dever; Lewis, Burtonwood, Wild, Gray, Garrod, Fairbrother, Turley, Rogerson. Replacements: Taylor, Loney, Lamprey, Vernon, Dorrington.
Nine Fylde players are in the Lancashire Under-20 squad which opens the 2017 County Championship campaign against Staffordshire at Wigan RFC on Sunday.
They are: Ben Gregory, Nick Ashcroft, Matt Garrod, George Blackwell, Connor Wilkinson, Lewis Pattison, Jake Foster, Tom Carleton and Adam Joyner.
A 10th Fylde player Toby Harrison, has been named as a travelling reserve.
Lancashire Under-20s are competing in the second tier of the championship this season following relegation in 2016.
Squad: Alex Preston (Kirkby Lonsdale) Ben Gregory (Fylde) Matthew Woodward (Sedgley Park) Nick Ashcroft (Kirkham Grammar School and Fylde) Matthew Garrod (Fylde) James Robinson (Leeds Beckett & Preston Grasshoppers) George Blackwell (Kirkham Grammar and Fylde) Hallam Chapman (Manchester Metropolitan University) Ruairidh Swan (Myerscough) Will Hunt (Preston Grasshoppers) James Ratcliffe (Firwood Waterloo) Connor Wilkinson and Lewis Pattison (Fylde) Jake Foster (Myerscough and Fylde) Tom Carleton (Fylde) Tom Egerton (Edge Hill College & Sale FC) Morgan Channell (Tyldesley) Adam Joyner (Fylde) David Hassall (Sedgley Park) James Robins (Manchester University & Firwood Waterloo) Andy Hulme (Loughborough University & Preston Grasshoppers) Conor Cosh (Myerscough & Sale FC).
Travelling reserves: Toby Harrison (Fylde) and Jonathon Roberts (Firwood Waterloo).