Stewart injury a body blow for Fylde
Former skipper Evan Stewart, an influential figure in the Fylde RFC set-up, could miss the opening two months of 2017.
The back row forward was injured in the 46-17 defeat at the hands of Loughborough Students last month - and it transpired that it has provoked a lengthy absence for the player.
Fylde player-coach Paul Arnold said: “Evan has a broken shoulder and he is likely to be out of action for between six and eight weeks.
“Obviously, it is a massive blow, but at the same time we have Matt Lamprey, Dave Fairbrother and Matt Rogerson for the match at Blackheath on Saturday and that is not a bad back row, is it?
“It is yet another injury - we’ve had a ridiculous amount of them in my time as coach this season.”
For the National League One clash in the capital with Blackheath – the start of an exacting January period for Fylde – forward Jack Turley is another absentee.
He returned home to his native New Zealand during the Christmas and New Year period and will not return in time for the match.
Front row forward Adam Lewis is unavailable because of best man duties at a wedding.
Back row forward Ben Vernon, who injured a hamstring in the final match of 2016 against Macclesfield, is also sidelined.
Fylde go into the match still searching for that elusive victory on the road, which would greatly aid their fight to escape from the lower reaches of the table.
It was way back on January 23, 2016 that Fylde secured their last win on the road, a 36-26 win over Hull Ionians.
Arnold said: “We are aware of how long it has been but there is no need to keep reminding the players because it could heap extra pressure on them.
“It was good to have a break over Christmas and the New Year to give everyone a rest physically and mentally and a chance to recharge for the second half of the season.
“The players were buzzing back in training and we’ve done well at Blackheath in the past.”
Fylde team: Dorrington; Bailey, Armstrong, Briers, Brennand; Smith, Dever; Pope, Burtonwood, Griffiths, Gray, Nott, Lamprey, Fairbrother, Rogerson. Replacements: Wild, Gregory, Arnold, Dowds, Bingham.