Fylde RFC will be without several key personnel as they prepare for their most important match of the season to date when bottom club Macclesfield visit the Woodlands in National League One tomorrow.
The list of casualties is mounting, with Jordan Dorrington, Evan Stewart, Simon Griffiths, Ralph Dowds, Anthony Bingham and Connor Wilkinson all sidelined.
Dave Fairbrother is another absentee because of duties with the Royal Navy.
It is a match with so much at stake that it could be described as a 10-pointer.
Macclesfield are rock-bottom, while Fylde are too close to the relegation zone for comfort, only 13 points better off in 12th place.
The teams met at Priory Park in September, with Macclesfield winning 44-22 – one of Fylde’s seven straight away defeats this season.
Both coaches said nothing will be decided in tomorrow’s match but still stressed the importance of the fixture.
Fylde head coach Paul Arnold told The Gazette: “I don’t want to build one game up too much halfway through the season but it’s an important derby which we want to win.
“Our home form has been good, and although we’ve been struggling away the performances are getting better.
“We are down to the bare bones with injuries but the players we have available are up to the job and prove we have strength in depth this year.
“I’ve never know a season like it for injuries but we do have our dual registered players from Sale back, which is a big boost.
“We underestimated Macclesfield at their place second game of the season but we won’t make that mistake again.”
Macclesfield coach Giles Heagerty said: “Fylde will look to exploit the space on their big, wide pitch.
“You have to keep things in perspective in that I don’t think either the winner orthe loser’s final league position will be determined by what happens at the weekend.
“Nonetheless, it is still an important game for both teams, given the current league positions both clubs find themselves in. I am wary of building the game up to be something bigger than it actually is as that can result in the players struggling to play to their full potential.”
Asked what approach he thought Fylde would take, Heagerty said: “They’ve always had a playing philosophy of attacking from anywhere and judging from what I have seen this season I don’t think that’s changed at all.
“We’ve just got to make sure we are clued up on that and do everything in our power to stop them playing like that.
“What we can’t do is let Fylde dictate the play. We have to be the ones who do that. Fylde will certainly want revenge for what happened earlier in the season.
Macc go into tomorrow’s encounter on the back of a heavy 62-17 loss at the hands of league leaders Hartpury College.