Fylde backs boost

Fylde RFC coach Mark Nelson
Fylde RFC coach Mark Nelson
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FYLDE RFC coach Mark Nelson has several headaches – of the right kind – as he wrestles with selection posers for Saturday’s National League One trip to Wharfedale.

Full-back or fly-half Warren Spragg is available along with high-scoring winger Nick Royle, who has recovered from a broken hand.

In their absence, Fylde still made a flying start to the season with last weekend’s 39-22 win over Esher.

Nelson said: “It is a good problem to have – when we have most people fit we have a high-quality squad to choose from.”

The only injury doubts for the Roses clash are centre Stephen Briers and prop Tom Lavelle, who both suffered shoulder injuries against Esher.

Josh Beaumont will not play. Fylde need game-by-game permission from Beaumont’s Premiership club Sale and that has not been granted on this occasion.

Nelson said: “In this instance, it is not a Sale issue. Josh is in his last year at Durham University and is on a field trip with the college, which means he will miss the next two Saturdays.”

One player Nelson has pencilled in is front rower Pete Altham, who will face his former club.

He did not figure against Esher but the coach said: “Pete was always going to play against Wharfedale as part of our policy of rotation.

“There are a lot of options I have to decide on, not just Royle and Spragg.

“Winger Ben Rath scored seven tries for the second team at the weekend and there is also Rob Taylor to consider in the forwards.

“Craig Aikman has been back training with us as well, though he has not been officially registered yet.”

As for Saturday’s opponents, Nelson added: “Esher was a challenge for us, and going to Grassington on Saturday will be a different sort of challenge altogether.

“I know Wharfedale have made this match one of their primary targets this season, and when they beat us last season they celebrated as though they had won the FA Cup, so we know just what to expect.”