Newcastle Diamonds travel to Sheffield Tigers in search of Premier League points tonight, and Berwick Bandits do likewise at Ipswich Witches.
Robin Aspegren misses the Ipswich fixture (7.30pm) as he has been recalled by his Swedish club for tonight with Rye House’s lively Ben Morley filling in as a guest replacement. Berwick will seek revenge after Ipswich went to their place in early June and, despite a poor start, managed to grab a league point.
Having completed just over half of their league fixtures and currently fifth in the table, the Witches have been told by their management that they can’t afford to ease off the throttle, as there are at least three other teams just below them still in with a play-off chance.
Ipswich team boss Pete Simmons said: “I will be pushing the team to get as many points as possible in every remaining meeting to ensure they retain or improve their current league position – especially tonight as Berwick are just three places behind us and three points tonight would also take Ipswich past the 30 league points barrier, or four for the Bandits would strengthen their mid-table position – so there’s everything to play for.”
The Diamonds are still unbeaten in the League at home with a fine away record to boot, but Sheffield is a track which instils a degree of trepidation in Diamonds fans and riders alike.
Tigers have booked in-form Workington man Richard Lawson to cover for injured skipper Simon Stead at Owlerton (7.45pm). Lawson has offered to deputise for Stead as often as his fixtures allow. Damien Koppe should be back after a recent shoulder injury.
Newcastle see a team shuffle, Richie Worrall taking over the number one race jacket as his average has risen to top spot in the team. Ludvig Lindgren – second in the averages – races at the number five position.
Team manager George English knows this enforced change is not necessarily beneficial, saying: “With Richie now top average it means he is no longer eligible for a rider replacement ride for Christian Henry.
“But with the way Lewis Kerr and Chris Schramm are racing at the moment I think it’s fair to say the Diamonds have good strength in the reserve tanks which could be of serious benefit to our result.”