The Blackpool Gazette’s Andy Moore spoke to Warren Spragg ahead of the clash with Hull on Saturday, ko 3pm. Reproduced courtesy of the Gazette.
There is no way Fylde RFC will be underestimating Hull at the Woodlands tomorrow after last weekend’s close shave at Luctonians.
National Two North table-toppers Fylde scraped home 27-25 in Herefordshire and the close encounter came as no suprise to head coach Warren Spragg, despite Luctonians languishing second-bottom.
Hull are only a place above them but the story of narrow defeats most Saturdays is a similar one at both struggling clubs.
The Humbersiders are without a win in eight games but have lost none of their last five by more than five points.
Spragg told The Gazette: “I was not surprised at all by Luctonians. They are a good side who have been unlucky in a lot of their games. They retained the ball well and worked hard.
“I think they will go on to win games in this league and they are not a side I’d say would be relegated. They could finish in the top half.”
But Spragg was concerned more with Fylde’s performance and saw much that pleased him, adding: “Defensively we worked very hard and did not miss many tackles.
“We could perhaps have competed for the ball more on the floor but we closed space down well. There are things to work on but some of our attack was really good and we scored four tries.
“We’ve got a (four-try) bonus point from all nine games that we’ve won and it’s allowing us to stay ahead at the moment, though Caldy did beat us and do have a game in hand.”
Among the things to work on will be scrums after Fylde were on the wrong end of the penalty count at Luctonians.
Spragg added: “We gave away a few silly penalties in the second half, but in the first half it was mainly scrum penalties and that we can fix.
“You must bear in mind it was (prop) Matt Ashcroft’s first start and he will learn as he gains experience.”
It was a try-scoring full debut for Ashcroft alongside brother and fellow forward Nick, who also scored.
Spragg said: “Matt and Nick are different types of player. Nick is a very intelligent player. Matt will be a more powerful ball-carrier but they both have good attitudes.”
Both may well be involved against Hull, when Fylde will be without packmen Dave Fairbrother and Ben Vernon. They won’t have any dual-registered Sale Sharks players available either.
Ben O’Ryan is set to start, with Lex Botha and Tom Forster vying to come into the back-line. Spragg added: “Going into the season I’d have been happy with any of those being in the side.
“I think Hull are a team not quite sure how to close out a game.
“Scott Barrow (whose Sedgley Park side won there 27-24 last Saturday) said they were a decent side with quality around the pitch,but they get a bit nervy about getting in front.”