HUDDERSFIELD are aiming to put a hurdle in front of Fylde’s National II title charge tomorrow when former England head coach Brian Ashton brings his League-leaders to Lockwood Park (3.00).
Player-coach Dan Hyde – who misses the game with a neck injury – knows full well the task his side face against the Lytham St Anne’s outfit who are racing away from the field in the National II North, having opened up a 22-point gap over nearest rivals Westoe.
“I think we gave a good account of ourselves when we played over there earlier in the season – Huddersfield were beaten only 22-10 as David Hall scored a converted try – and we’ll be doing our best to scupper their plans tomorrow,” said Hyde.
“Obviously they have become a very good side under coach Brian Ashton, and have several excellent ‘old heads’ in the team, and the way they have been going, you have to say they look firm favourites for promotion from our League this season.
“Tomorrow, we have to try to play to our own strengths and keep the ball in hand, and starve them of any decent possession.
“If we have the ball they can’t do anything, and we must keep it away from their star-studded backs at all costs.”
Huddersfield go into the match on the back of successive victories over Rugby Lions and Luctonians, but Fylde will present a different sort of challenge even without the presence of former international star Jason Robinson, who is reportedly injured, but doesn’t play in the club’s away fixtures.
Hall remains sidelined with a hamstring strain, while backs coach Ian Shuttleworth has a viral infection.
On the bench, is Dan Western, a flanker, from the University of Huddersfield, who has been playing in the Seconds, and is a former Academy player with Exeter Chiefs.
With Hyde out of action, George Hinchliff gets the starting nod at wing forward, with club skipper Nick Sharpe moving into the back row.
Last week Sharpe notched his 10th try of the season against Luctonians and will be aiming to further close the gap on his side’s leading try-scorer Chris Johnson, who so far has 12 touchdowns to his credit as he closes in on 300 points in total for the season.
Huddersfield: Owen; Sutcliffe, Clarke, L Paxman, Pratt; Johnson, Hinchliffe; Stringwell, Morrill, Battye, Brown, Rhodes, Hinchliff, Lewis, Sharpe. Subs: Lancaster, Davies, Rothery, Western, Whitfield.