Roses battle for Arnold to relish

Stewart - misses start of season
Stewart - misses start of season
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Back row forward Dave Fairbrother is a notable addition to the Fylde line-up on Saturday as the home side take on Championship opposition Yorkshire Carnegie at the Woodlands (kick-off 3pm)

It will be Fylde’s final serious run-out before the curtain opens on the new National League One season on September 5, when they host Loughborough Students.

For the second Saturday in succession, Fylde take on Championship opposition after they were on the wrong end of a 45-14 scoreline against Rotherham Titans on Saturday.

Fairbrother, who has attracted interest from Newcastle Falcons, is available to play and his presence will be welcome.

Another back row forward Sam Beaumont is absent on Saturday as he is suffering a recurrence of an ankle problem.

Evan Stewart is absent on a school trip, but in any event would not have been available as he is waiting for a hernia operation, which means he will miss the first month of the season, according to Fylde player-coach Paul Arnold.

Arnold conceded: “It will be another tough one. Last weekend’s match against Rotherham highlighted a number of things we needed to work on, though overall I was happy with the way things went.

“The tries Rotherham scored all came from mistakes and they punished us at the breakdown.

“We can expect something similar against Yorkshire Carnegie on Saturday and we have been working on that area of the game in training.”

Tomorrow Fylde will be pitted against a Yorkshire side replete with full-time players.

Among those returning to old haunts at the Woodlands will be Dave Baldwin, who used to play in the second row for Fylde.

Baldwin, the ex-Preston Grasshoppers coach, is forwards coach at Yorkshire Carnegie.

Another former Fylde forward, Chris Jones, is the new captain of the Carnegie side.

Jones had a productive spell at Sale Sharks and in his formative years there was loaned out to Fylde, where it was evident in a handful of appearances he was destined for an outstanding career.

Jones went on to play 12 times for England and had a spell playing club rugby at Worcester Warriors.

The Yorkshiremen have been building up for a concerted push for the Aviva Premiership and have bolstered their ranks by signing former England international Dean Schofield, as well as rugby league great Kevin Sinfield.

Sinfield will not be in action at Fylde on Saturday as he has unfinished Super League business and a Challenge Cup final next weekend.

Other absentees for Fylde tomorrow will be back row forward Ben Vernon, who picked up a knock against Rotherham, and another close-season signings, winger Anthony Bingham.

Arnold said: “Bingham has a tight hamstring and we are not going to risk him.”

Fylde will give a fitness taste to another wing, Jordan Dorrington, who suffered a dead leg against Rotherham.

Arnold is under no illusion over the size of the task facing his Fylde team. “Yorkshire Carnegie are not going to be easy,” he said.

“They have internationals like Chris Jones, Dean Schofield and Tom Ryder in the second row.

“But I am happy with the way pre-season has been going and we have the strength in depth that we need.

The 3pm match will be preceded by a second XV game against a Sandbach XV at 1pm.

Fylde team: Spragg; Dorrington, Briers, S Rawlings, Brennand; Johnson, Nicholls; Birchall, Mills, Lewis, Arnold, G Rawlings, Moon, Goodman, Fairbrother. Replacements: Griffiths, Maher, Lavelle, Prisk, Robinson, Dowds, Allen.