SELECTION posers are piling up for Fylde RU coach Mark Nelson in the build-up to Saturday’s derby with Preston Grasshoppers at Lightfoot Green.
Winger Nick Royle is away on England Sevens duty, while Mark Stephenson has joined Richard Kenyon, Stephen Briers and Oli Brennand in needing a fitness test.
In addition, hooker Paul Holmes is unavailable and there are doubts as to whether Mike Waywell and Sam Beaumont will be considered, having been named in the England Counties squad to play in Dublin the night before the Hoppers game.
On the plus side, forwards Steve McGinnis, Josh Beaumont and Tony Thoma are in the frame as National Two leaders Fylde bid to extend their winning sequence to 12.
Nelson said: “Games at this stage of the season are getting pretty brutal. We experienced that on Saturday at Huddersfield, who played a physical game, entirely legitimately, against us.”
Jason Robinson will not be considered as Fylde continue the policy agreed with the player that he appears only in home matches.
Nelson said: “We have home matches coming up against Luctonians and Westoe which are just as important as the Preston game.”
Holmes has work commitments at King Edward VII and Queen Mary School on Saturday and Nelson said: “We knew some way in advance that Alan would not be available.
“Saturday was originally a free weekend in the fixture programme but this match has been rearranged.”
Whether Beaumont or Waywell feature depends on a number of factors, not least whether they are on the bench in Dublin or play from the start.
One man who will get back from Ireland to take an active part in Saturday’s derby is Dave Baldwin – he is coach of Hoppers and England Counties.