Skipper Stewart out of Cov clash

Evan Stewart - misses Coventry clash
Evan Stewart - misses Coventry clash
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Fylde RFC have decided against recalling skipper Evan Stewart for the first time since January 11 as they entertain Coventry at the Woodlands on Saturday.

Stewart suffered a rib injury in the match against Worthing Raiders - but after training earlier in the week at Myerscough College he was not entirely happy about the injury, so he has decided to wait until at least another week.

Ben Vernon, originally pencilled in for the replacements’ bench, is drafted in – wing forward Cameron Thompson takes Vernon’s place on the bench.

Flanker Steve McGinnis is unavailable - Scott Barrow was not considered for one of the centre positions as he is still suffering a knee injury.

Adam Lewis continues in the front row, though he is due to go under the knife on April 10 for an operation on his shoulder.

He could be fit again in time for a return to duty for Lancashire’s defence of the County Championship.

It is a match that pits third-placed Fylde against a Coventry side one place behind in the league standings.

Fylde will bid for their 10th successive home win of the season, but know they will have their work cut out as Coventry beat them in November by 32-5 at the Butt Park Arena – it was Fylde’s biggest defeat of the campaign.

Nelson said: “Fylde versus Coventry is one of the traditional English club fixtures - in its time it was on a par with Sale versus Leicester nowadays.

“It is still a highly significant game and with no Six Nations matches this weekend, we hope quite a number more people will be interested to come down to watch a fixture that has such a heritage.”

Referring to that 32-5 reverse, Nelson said: “It was not a case of Coventry taking us to the cleaners - we took ourselves to the cleaners.

“It will be a monumental challenge - Coventry are very ambitious and right at the top of the list of teams who have designs on getting into the Championship.

“We are ahead of Coventry in the table, but they have won more games than we have so far - we are higher than them because we have picked up more bonus points.”

The deadline for registering any new players was due to pass later today, with Fylde most unlikely to augment the squad.

There was some question that Nelson might explore the loan option to bolster the front row, but he is content with his squad, particularly with the way another prop on the fringe of selection, Jonny Wild, has been showing up in training.

Fylde have continued their policy of having one training session per week on the synthetic surface at Myerscough.

Nelson said: “Players are a lot fresher because they have been able to train on such a surface when there has been so much rain.”

Fylde: Viney; Rath, C Briers, S Briers, Brennand; Johnson, De La Harpe; Birchall, Burtonwood, Lewis, Gore, Arnold, Robinson, Vernon, Beaumont. Replacements: Griffiths, Rylance, Thompson, Dorrington, Spragg.