Tigers on prowl for Preston Grasshoppers' landmark day

Paul Arnold knows his Hoppers side face a tougher test this weekend
Paul Arnold knows his Hoppers side face a tougher test this weekend

Preston Grasshoppers round off the first month of the season with their third home fixture in four games – on the exact 150th anniversary of the founding of the club.

Preston Grasshoppers round off the first month of the season with their third home fixture in four games – on the exact 150th anniversary of the founding of the club.

The latest visitors are Sheffield Tigers, against whom they had two narrow victories last term, when Hoppers finished seventh and Sheffield 13th in National League Two North. They won 38-33 at home and 27-24 across the Pennines.

After last week’s first victory of the campaign, against Scunthorpe, head coach Paul Arnold said: “Tigers will be a stiffer test. We just have to keep improving.”

His side have certainly been improving so far, starting with a home defeat, then drawing at Fylde and racking up a seven-try win last Saturday.

That took them to seventh in the table with seven points, while Sheffield are a place above them with nine points, having won their opening two fixtures before losing at home to leaders Caldy last weekend.

Versatile Ben Dorrington starts at scrum-half for Hoppers after impressing off the bench last Saturday.

As Arnold rotates his squad, two of last week’s other replacements, lock Adam Howard and centre Alex Hurst, return to the starting line-up, with Luke Procter and Sam Stott taking their turn on the bench.

Fylde moved up to third after winning at Wharfedale last Saturday. They have 12 points from their two victories and one draw. Tomorrow’s visitors to Ansdell are Huddersfield, who began the season with successive draws, before losing to Sedgley Park. Their four points leave them next to bottom.

Huddersfield also drew 20-20 at Fylde last term and won the return game 45-33, finishing fourth to Fylde’s sixth.

In North Two West, Vale of Lune travel to Firwood Waterloo, both clubs having won two and lost one so far.

Vale have picked up three bonus points and are in third place, while Waterloo lie seventh.

Vale are without Callum Grieve, who has returned to university, and the unavailable Scott Manning and Ross Pillow.

Michael Forrest comes in at full-back for his first appearance since the 2015/6 season, while Will Hunt, a replacement last week, starts at centre.

Props Alex Preston and Owen Branford both come into the XV and there’s a bench spot for ex-Colt Henry Higginson.

Hoppers: J Dorrington; Crow, Hurst, Gregson, Spence; Prior, B Dorrington; Blanchard, Millea, Miller, Howard, Murray, Carlson, Harrison, Lamprey. Replacements: Taylor, Sloane, Procter, Wallbank, Stott.

Vale: Forrest; Fern, Robertson, Hunt, Eastwood; Briggs, Swarbrick; Preston, Dokter, Branford, Fellows, Robinson, Cvijanovic, Ayrton, Powers. Replacements: Stevens, Tagg, Higginson.