Preston Grasshoppers vs. Scunthorpe – Kick Off 2:30pm
Preston Grasshoppers entertain Scunthorpe this coming Saturday in what will be their first visit to Lightfoot Green since they spoiled the party in Hoppers first game on the AGP with a late try and conversion to win by a single point. Something that was a common occurrence that relegation season.
After being relegated along with Hoppers, our visitors took one more season than their hosts to regain their place in National 2 North. Scunthorpe topped Midlands Premier League at the end of last season, pipping Luctonians for the automatic promotion position by a single point.
Looking back to last Saturday, with just ten minutes remaining Hoppers gained what had looked like an improbable draw at Fylde thanks to a couple of tries and a cooly taken second conversion by new recruit Nick Gregson from out wide. The draw was Hoppers first for almost exactly two years to the day since the ten-all affair at Hull on the 16th of September 2017.
If Hoppers could take their last twenty minutes of each half from this game forward better results will certainly be forthcoming!
Apart from bonus points, the draw gave Hoppers their first points at The Memorial Ground since gaining victory there in 2001 and it was the first drawn game between the two since Mike ‘Bill’ Bailey’s side shared the spoils in the 1996 Easter Monday match. This followed up a rare Hoppers victory at and over Fylde just a few weeks previous. These were the only games played between the two that season, with the Boxing Day fixture at Lightfoot Green being cancelled.
Back to this weeks fixture. Preston Grasshoppers first met Scunthorpe during the 2002/2003 season then again during 2016/2017 when both were relegated to their respective Premier Leagues. Hoppers won both games in the first meetings before Scunthorpe took the spoils in the only other two games.
Congratulations go to new boys Nick Gregson and John Blanchard who both made their debuts off the bench last Saturday with Nick’s accurate conversion in the final few minutes giving us the draw. Ben Dorrington also featured in the game scoring one of the late tries which set up the comeback. His try coming less than ten minutes after he came on as a replacement.
After making his fiftieth appearance for Hoppers last week at Fylde, James Fitzpatrick will reach the same milestone in League games with his next appearance.
Preston North End season ticket holders will be admitted for free this weekend upon production of their season ticket at the gate.
Head Coach Paul Arnold shuffles his pack this week with 4 changes o the side that started at Fylde. John Blanchard comes into the front row for his first start and Luke Procter gets the nod in the 2nd row. In the backs there is a recall for winger Matt Crow as well as a first start for Nick Gregson in the centre. The bench sees a return for Sam Wallbank who rejoined the club this summer from Vale of Lune.
1. John BLANCHARD
2. PJ MILLEA (C)
3. Noah MILLER
4. Luke PROCTER
5. Ally MURRAY
6. Ryan CARLSON
7. Toby HARRISON
8. Matt LAMPREY
9. Jake SQUIRRELL
10. Joe PRIOR
11. Matt CROW
12. Nick GREGSON
13. Sam STOTT
14. Tyler SPENCE
15. Jordan DORRINGTON
REPLACEMENTS: 16. TAYLOR, 17. SLOANE, 18. WALLBANK, 19. B DORRINGTON, 20. HURST