Fylde coach Spragg welcomes chance to right the wrongs of derby day

Fylde battle to keep Hoppers at bay at Lightfoot Green
Fylde battle to keep Hoppers at bay at Lightfoot Green

Warren Spragg says lessons must be learned from Fylde’s derby defeat at Preston Grasshoppers and he welcomes the opportunity to make quick improvements when Macclesfield visit the Woodlands tomorrow.

Warren Spragg says lessons must be learned from Fylde’s derby defeat at Preston Grasshoppers and he welcomes the opportunity to make quick improvements when Macclesfield visit the Woodlands tomorrow.

Spragg told The Gazette: “If you get a short turnaround in sport you have a chance to lick your wounds, dust yourselves down and put things right straight away.

“We lost the derby game because of discipline and an inability to make good decisions under pressure.

“We spent a lot of time in their 22 in the first half but hardly came away with any points.

“We had more opportunities late in the game but made daft decisions and lost the ball too easily. We have to look at what we could have done differently.”

Spragg accepts that handling the emotional side of an eagerly-anticipated derby was a major test, and two sinbinnings in quick succession left Fylde with 13 players for a crucial spell as Hopper edged an 18-15 win.

The coach added: “Our approach was to press them anf not overplay. Maybe we were a little naive to think there would not be nerves and some of the lads did not handle that side too well.

“But we are a better team than last year. We’ve had a really bad day but still came out of it with a very close loss.

“This was the first time a lot of these players had played in a proper derby and we can’t allow ourselves to believe we are automatically better just because we were a National One club last year. Credit to Preston but we did have opportunities to win that game.”

Spragg is formulating his first-choice side but expect at least a couple of changes for the visit of Macc.

He added: “We still have around 30 players competing for places in the first team and over the next month or so the starting team should begin to settle.

“Nick Ashcroft probably should not have played against Preston because he had been struggling with a shoulder injury. It was probably a bad decision to select him but he was determined to play and that’s the attitude we want.

“So he probably misses out on Saturday but Ollie Parkinson comes in. He may well have been selected anyway to face his old club.

“Sam Dugdale will play his first game of the season for us. He is a dual-registration back-rower from Sale Sharks and this is the first time he has been available to us. He looked very good in pre-season and will hopefully do a great job.”

During the seven seasons Fylde spent in National One, Macclesfield were relegated from that division three times, twice regaining their place at the first attempt.

Fylde won six of the clubs’ eight league fixtures at the higher level, most recently a 21-12 win at the Woodlands in December 2016.

Spragg said: “Macclesfield are probably in the same sort of situation we were in 12 months ago.

“They have lost a lot of experienced players over the last three or four years and replaced them with more local players.

“But they have made some good signings and have good players in their squad. They will be up for it and we have to be on the money to get back to winning ways.”