Fylde centre ruled out for most of season

Ralph Dowds
Ralph Dowds
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Fylde RFC centre Ralph Dowds could miss the most of the 2017-18 season.

He is due to undergo knee reconstruction surgery and head coach Warren Spragg said: “We are talking about him being out of the game for between seven and nine months, but hopefully it will not be as long as that. Ralph is a fit new young man and it could be sooner.”

Forward Matt Garrod will be out until the end of September after a shoulder operation.

Spragg said: “Matt is back training with us but he is not doing any contact work at the moment.”

The other long-term casualty is hooker Alex Loney, who is recovering from an Achilles injury.

Loney, who is part of the Fylde coaching set-up, hurt his Achilles playing for Lancashire in a county championship match.

It meant him missing out on the victory in the final against Cornwall at Twickenham as well as a place on an England Counties’ tour.

Spragg is happy with the way training has gone so far. As well as ball work this evening, he will ‘treat’ the squad to a spell pounding the sand dunes.

He explained: “It will be good for the players’ fitness and it gets them to know a lot more about Lytham St Annes!”

The squad has changed markedly since the closing match of last season, with seven new recruits and the possibility of more coming on board.

There is also the chance that Fylde will try to bolster the squad with young players from Sale Sharks, though nothing has been firmed up as yet.

The registration system has been altered and young Premiership players can now register with three clubs instead of two.

This triple-registering system encompasses the Championship and National League One.

The appointment of Spragg as head coach in place of Paul Arnold has sparked a change in the make-up of the squad and he would not want it any other way.

Spragg said: “I am happy with being accountable for the players we have brought in. I am taking over what is largely my squad and not somebody else’s. We needed to change and we have done some things completely differently.”