Fylde seek Roses win for Pete’s sake

Altham - scores for Fylde against Wharfedale earlier this season
Altham - scores for Fylde against Wharfedale earlier this season
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Fylde prop forward Pete Altham is always a wholehearted trier, but he will have extra incentive to raise his game on Saturday.

He is in the Fylde squad for the National League clash at Wharefdale, his former club and for whom his brother George still plays.

Altham said: “This is my third trip back and I have not won there, so it is hopefully third time lucky.”

There could be a notable absentees in the Wharfedale ranks, according to Altham, who may have something of an inside track on ‘enemy’ territory.

Brother George suffered concussion recently and may not be ready to re-claim his place in the starting line-up, while number eight Rob Baldwin, pivotal to the way Wharfedale play, is likely to be missing.

Altham, on the bench tomorrow said: “Baldwin is their big player – no disrespect to the rest of the Wharfedale team, but having him back has really pushed them along.

“He won’t be available on Saturday because he is away skiing, so that will be a big loss to them.”

Altham is under no illusion about the size of the task facing Wharfedale, who have enjoyed some outstanding results of late.

“Wharfedale have beaten Doncaster and Coventry, so we have to be up for it.

“The last two seasons we have been quite poor there, but hopefully we can beat them this time.”

Altham came on as a late substitute for Fylde in

horrendous weather conditions as they completed a noteworthy 9-5 win over Blaydon in their latest home fixture.

He says it was due reward for the work that Fylde had done on their defence.

Altham added: “It was a physical game, scrappy to watch, but I thought we did really well considering the conditions.

“We put up a good fight and it was a great result to beat Blaydon, who hadn’t been lost for 10 matches.

“It was a very convincing win for us - hopefully that will take up forward against Wharfedale.

“At times (this season) our defence has been quite poor.

“But we had worked hard on our defence and it was successful - we only conceded one try, which was very pleasing to see.”

Altham said: “Wharfedale at home is a tough place to go.

“Hopefully the weather will be better than it was for the Blaydon match, but in the Dales it is cold.

“I still keep in touch with my mates at Wharfedale, though they won’t be mates until after the match when we can catch up

“My in-laws are coming over so it will be a bit of family outing.

“It would very pleasing to win - and if we do I won’t get in their faces and showing off because I don’t want to get beaten up by Wharfedale people!”

Coach Mark Nelson has decided to stay with the same pack, who performed heroically in the 9-5 win over Blaydon, for tomorrow’s trip to Wharfedale.

Flanker Steve McGinnis is available again for selection, but Nelson has resisted the temptation to call on his services.

He said: “McGinnis is free from school duties to play for us, but I think it would be wrong to change the forwards that performed so well as a unit against Blaydon.”

Steve Briers replaces centre Charles Hough, who steps down to the bench.

Nelson said: “I just think that in a match of this nature that we need someone of Steve’s experience to come in.

“That’s why I have brought in Martin Wallwork to the bench so that we can draw on his experience too.”

Fylde: Viney. Spragg, S Briers, C Briers, Brennand; Johnson, De La Harpe; Birchall, Burtonwood, Lewis, Arnold, Griffiths, Robinson, Vernon, Stewart.

Replacements: Altham, Rylance, Thompson, Hough, Wallwork.