Head coach Warren Spragg is backing his ‘wounded’ Fylde RFC team to restore their pride on Saturday at home to a Peterborough Lions side hungry for their biggest scalp in league rugby.
READ MORE: Tynedale 57 Fylde 15 - full report
However, those wounds are not only mental after Fylde’s 57-15 hammering at Tynedale last Saturday: they have lost the services of seasoned packmen Dave Fairbrother and Ben Vernon.
Number eight Fairbrother could be out for four to six weeks with a calf muscle problem, while Vernon underwent hospital treatment for concussion in the North East last weekend and looks set for a three-week absence.
After winning three of their opening four games, Fylde have suffered back-to-back defeats and will be anxious not to develop the sort of losing habit they couldn’t break out of last season.
Spragg told The Gazette: “There’s no reason for us to go on a losing run. We threw the game away against Sheffield Tigers and the game at Tynedale was even for the first 20 minutes until some really poor errors let us down. We are a better team than that.
“Until last weekend our defence had been good and maybe that led to complacency. We thought we could just turn up and defend well. We let our principles go out of the window and we were poor.
“We had a full-on and really physical session on Tuesday, when we took some frustration out on each other.
“When you are a good side who have conceded over 50 points you would expect more intensity in the next match, more physicality and a high work rate.”
Again ill-discipline contributed to Fylde’s downfall, with winger Henry Hadfield (below) spending time in the sinbin.
Spragg added: “Again the penalty count was too high and we are looking at what is causing that. A lot of the reasons are easily fixed.
“The Hadfield card was for an overly aggressive tackle but there was nothing major in it. He is a passionate player who got a bit overenthusiastic.”
There is good news as well as bad on the injury front, with the possible return of Cam Crampton after his ankle injury. The club’s first-choice scrum-half did not train on Tuesday but was expected to do so last night.
As for the absentees, Spragg explained: “Losing Dave Fairbrother is not ideal because everyone knows what a big character he is for us but other lads will have to step up.”
“Ben Vernon was still groggy this week but will be fine. Adam Lewis (captain and prop) was to be reassessed on Thursday and should be back after a short rest.”
For the third time in four weeks Fylde face a club they have never played in league rugby before and Spragg is ready to meet the challenge Peterborough will present.
“A lot of us know their coach Vili Ma’asi from his playing days at Ampthill and we know they are very excited to be coming here.
“On their Twitter feed they say we are the biggest club they have ever played, so we are mindful that they want our scalp. It took them a while to find their feet but they had a great first win against an unbeaten Chester side last weekend.
“But there is some wounded pride on our side and this is a game we have to grab by the scruff of the neck. I’m sure we will.”