Before Fylde RFC turn their focus fully to the 2019-20 National Two North campaign, they must end the current season at Otley tomorrow – and head coach Warren Spragg insists there will be no holding back.
Both clubs have seen their season fizzle out and will be looking to avoid a fifth straight defeat at Cross Green, having previously been promotion contenders on the back of excellent runs of results.
The structure of the season hasn’t helped, with a two-week break before a final game in which only pride is at stake.
Spagg says training has been “stripped back” accordingly but insists his side will be fired up for the task at hand.
He told The Gazette: “There is no point overtraining at this stage of the season because our focus has to be on one game, and on delivering and executing a plan to finish the season well.
“Otley will be similarly vulnerable to ourselves after recent results and wanting to finish positively.
“Our lads should be refreshed mentally and physically and we will name the strongest side we can. A rib injury will probably keep Ben Vernon out but otherwise we are fully fit.”
Fylde have slipped to sixth in the table and Otley are eighth, having also been docked four points over a player registration issue.
Victory could lift Fylde above Tynedale into fifth spot in the final standings, though defeat could leave them eighth and possibly below local rivals Preston Grasshoppers.
Fylde’s players are not playing for future contracts tomorrow as decisions on those to be retained for next season have already been taken, though announcements are yet to be made.
Spragg added: “What is really important is that we are organised behind the scenes. Potentially there will be a few new players but it will be pretty much the same squad next season. The turnover will be minimal.”
Fylde haven’t faced Otley since the opening day of the season, winning 24-14 at the Woodlands, and haven’t visited Crown Green for 20 years.
Whatever happens tomorrow, Spragg says this campaign’s positives have far outweighed the negatives.
He summed up: “We are really pleased with the journey we have made this season and the progress made by a bunch of young players who took a lot of heavy defeats last season.
“They have regrouped, developed physically, gained mental strength and discovered self-belief. I firmly believe that if we keep on working really hard the potential of this group is really strong for an exciting season in 2019-20.”