Fylde RFC coach Warren Spragg admits he is taking a risk by pitching Tom Carleton into an unaccustomed role of scrum-half at Esher on Saturday – but he says it is a calculated gamble well worth taking.
In a reshuffle to the half-back partnership, Carleton takes over at number nine as regular scrum-half Alex Dolly moves to fly-half to take the place of Greg Smith, who has a hand injury.
Spragg said: “Tom is our most dangerous player and we need to get him into the game more.
“We also need to play at a faster level than we have been doing lately and that is the main reason why Tom is coming into scrum-half.”
Dolly will probably take over the kicking duties.
Fylde had been hoping to include winger Jamie Cooke, on loan from Championship club Rotherham Titans, but those plans had to be shelved because of a knee injury.
There was double disappointment for Spragg, as on the other wing he had hoped to field James Bailey, who has been out for two months with a hamstring strain, and he too is out of the equation.
Spragg said: “James played for the second team last Saturday in the win over Preston Grasshoppers and though he seemed to come through all right, he suffered tightness in the hamstring in training this week.”
The Fylde coach has had to alter his original battleplan further.
Instead of Tom Grimes playing at full-back, he will go on one wing, with Henry Hadfield on the other.
Chris Briers switches to full-back, and Luke Fowden, originally pencilled in to be on the bench, partners Connor Wilkinson at centre.
Tom Hopwood, a number eight who has been playing club rugby in New Zealand and trained with the club recently, could be on the bench,
Briers; Grimes Wilkinson, Fowden, Hadfield; Dolly, Carleton; Lewis, Gregory, Irving, Ashcroft, Parkinson, Corrie, Vernon, Fairbrother. Replacements: Pope, Burtonwood, Garrod, Hopwood or Harrison, Carlton.