Fylde RFC are in advanced negotiations to sign four players from Premiership club Sale Sharks on a dual registration as they look to bolster their squad for the start of the National League One campaign on Saturday week.
The Woodlands club are hoping to sign prop forward Jake Pope, scrum-half Conor Dever, back row forward Andy Hughes and centre Sam Bedlow.
All four are highly-regarded by their parent club.
Pope came through the mini-junior section at Preston Grasshoppers and later signed a professional contract with Sale.
He quickly made his mark and became a member of the England Under-20 squad.
Pope has already played at senior level for Sale Sharks.
Fylde go into the new season with concerns over the front row positions, with prop Simon Griffiths missing the final warm-up match against Sedgley Tigers last Saturday due to injury.
Former Fylde prop Sam Simpson helped fill the breach by making a ‘guest’ appearance, so the signing of Pope would help plug the gap.
Fellow prop Tom Horner, the ex-Oldham and Lancashire Under-20s forward, has been training with Fylde but was unable to play against Sedgley on Saturday because of injury.
Dever is a talented scrum-half and a member of the Sale Jets squad. He is a former Kirkham Grammar School student and is also in the England U20 squad.
Hughes was also on Preston Grasshoppers’ books as a youngster.
He joined Sale three years ago and has been a regular in the Jets set-up.
He has played for Sale Sharks in the LV Cup and the European Rugby Champions Cup.
Hughes also had a spell playing in South Africa with Eastern Province Kings.
Bedlow is a centre, who played for Fylde on occasions last season.
There is even a possibility of a fifth Sale Jets player linking up with Fylde for the start of the season but that has yet to be confirmed.
Some of the potential recruits from Sale had been due to play for against Sedgley Tigers in Saturday’s warm-up game, which Fylde won 34-14.
And although their names appeared on the official team-sheet, they ultimately did not appear.
Fylde have no more friendlies planned before the league campaign begins against newly-relegated Birmingham Moseley.
There is a second XV fixture at the Woodlands on Saturday, when Fylde Hawks take on Firwood Waterloo.
Hawks need to bounce back, having lost 62-0 in a friendly at Sandbach on Saturday.