Easy game? Don’t be Barking mad!

Fylde's Stephen Briers
Fylde's Stephen Briers
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ANYONE who believes Fylde can automatically ease their way back into winning ways when they take on the bottom-of-the-table visitors tomorrow is Barking up the wrong tree.

The Struggling East London side arrive at the Woodlands languishing at the bottom of the National League One table, but as Fylde coach Mark Nelson points out, it was only a few short months ago that they were within touching distance of becoming a Championship club.

That’s the way it looked in last season’s play-off decider against London Scottish when Barking had a lead that would have taken them up.

But a late try by the Exiles’ David Howells left Barking devastated.

Nelson said: “But for an interception try, Barking would have been in the Championship by now.

“They also beat Blaydon, who beat us last Saturday, so no way we can afford to take they lightly.”

With Chris Briers suspended following his sending-off against Blaydon, his brother Stephen takes over at centre.

And Fylde, who still have injury problems in the back-row, have made changes in the pack.

Grant Ferguson moves into the second row, while Gareth Rawlings moves back to flanker, with Johnny Roddam, normally a hooker, and Sam Beaumont form the rest of the back row.

Mark Stephenson, Gavin Stewart and Steve McGinnis are still sidelined.

Nelson said: “At the moment, we don’t have a natural No.7 in the squad.

“We have moved Rawlings into the back row, while Roddam has played in the back row at Premiership level.

“We tested Stephenson’s ankle injury this week and he could still not run on it properly. There is no way we are going to risk him at this stage, there are still 24 games of the season to go.

“Stewart is still in re-hab with his injury – it is exactly the same as Stephenson’s, but three weeks behind.

“We had originally hoped to have McGinnis available to us during the half-term period, but he had appendicitis and if the hospital did not act when they did, there was a concern that he might get peritonitis, though thankfully that did not happen.

“He is only on light duties as a school-teacher and he will be out of rugby action until Christmas.”