Fylde prop eyes recovery mission

Fylde in relegation clash
Fylde in relegation clash
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Fylde RFC prop forward Mark Irving refuses to be downbeat, despite the fact that the team are deeply in the mire at the bottom of the National League One table.

The Woodlands club were on the wrong end of a 64-0 pasting at the hands of league leaders Coventry last Saturday and, next up, it is a trip to fellow strugglers Hull Iionians.

Saturday's clash has an all-or-nothing look about it even at this early stage of the campaign, but Irving, a close season recruit, said: “Results will come.

“We just have to be patient – it is Hull (Ionians) next and that is the next one.

“Our focus has to be on this match.

“We need a big ‘W’ to get the season started.

“It is no good being negative, though to lose like we did against Coventry was hard and it is time to re-group.

“You could see that Coventry were a professional team, but we didn’t give in and we worked the whole 80 minutes.

Irving, a 28-year-old Cumbrian, came to Fylde after a spell playing in Italy, where he represented Petrarca Rugby (Padua) prior to which he played for Viadana and Benetton Treviso

He has also had spells at Preston Grasshoppers, Ballymena in Northern Ireland and Newcastle Falcons.

He is the brother of Andrew Irving, who also played prop for Fylde, but is now retired from the game.

Irving said: “I came back home after three years in Italy. I am from the Lake District and I am now back close to my family.”

While Fylde are bottom of the table, Hull Ionians are three points better off and two places ahead of them in the standings in a league where three clubs suffer the fate of relegation.

Former skipper, centre Chris Briers, could return to the Fylde starting line-up aftere missing the Coventry match through unavailability.

Coach Warren Spragg says his side will be going all out to win only their second win of the season at Hull Ionians, but added: “Whatever the result is on Saturday, no-one is going to be relegated on the basis of one game.”

The fixture comes on the back of a 64-point whitewash against Coventry and the Fylde head coach said there had been a positive reaction in training.

He added: “That is only really to be expected; it is now a question of whether that can be carried through to Saturday.

“Let’s face it, we were up against a really good Coventry side last Saturday that did not miss a single beat and they didn’t make a mistake. They were seriously impressive.

“We know what to expect on Saturday.

“Hull Ionians will be up for it and will have targeted this match as one that they can win.”

Fylde will be without their dual registered players from Sale Sharks tomorrow as they will be required for the British and Irish Cup competition.

For the trip to Humberside, Fylde can pick from a fully fit squad, apart from scrum-half and club skipper Greg Nicholls, who is still sidelined with a knee injury.