Fylde need stand-in for Johnson

Chris Johnson
Chris Johnson
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Fylde RFC are looking for goal-kicking cover for fly-half Chris Johnson.

Johnson has again been called up for the England Counties squad ahead of their two forthcoming fixtures.

England Counties, the national team for club players below Championship level, will face a Scotland Club XV at Galashields on Friday, February 26.

Fylde are due to play a rearranged National League fixture the following day at home to Ampthill and District, a match postponed in December because of waterlogging.

The second representative match is on Friday, March 11, against France Federale at Blackheath in London.

At least Fylde have no scheduled fixture that weekend, though the first Counties match does pose a problem as the the club has no recognised goalkicker to cover for Johnston’s absence.

This was accentuated by the recent departure of scrum-half Ryan De La Harpe, who has joined Rossendale and is due to be handed a debut tomorrow against Cleckheaton.

The wheels have been put in motion to bring a loan player to the Woodlands to stand in for Johnson. Fylde player-coach Paul Arnold has someone in mind, but the name is being kept under wraps until all the formalities are completed.

Fylde are in National League One action at the Woodlands tomorrow when they entertain long-term rivals Coventry, one of three home fixtures this month.

The clubs have been playing leapfrog in mid-table this season, Fylde’s narrow defeat at Rosslyn Park last weekend enabling Coventry to move back above them in ninth place.

Anthony Bingham will be missing from the Fylde line-up tomorrow. The winger injured a calf during last Saturday’s pre-match warm-up and could be out of action for four weeks.

Warren Srpagg took Bingham’s place on the wing at Rosslyn Park and does so again tomorrow, with Jordan Dorrington again named at full-back. Scott Rawlings, an ever-present this season at centre, is on the bench, with Ralph Dowds given a chance from the start.

If, as expected, Rawlings comes on at some point, he will make his 50th appearance in Fylde colours.

Fylde stick with the back row combination of Sam Beaumont, Ben Vernon and Dave Fairbrother which earned Arnold’s praise last Saturday, meaning former skipper Evan Stewart must settle for a place on the bench, having been unavailable for Rosslyn Park.

Fylde: Dorrington; Spragg, Dowds, Briers, Brennand; Johnson, Nicholls; Birchall, Burtonwood, Lewis, Gray, G Rawlings, Beaumont, Vernon, Fairbrother. Replacements: Griffiths, Mills, Arnold, Stewart, S Rawlings, Kick-off 3pm.