NEWCASTLE Diamonds travel to Leicester Lions tonight in search of more Premier League points.
Newcastle are the only Premier League team still unbeaten at home this season and, although they were held to a draw by Ipswich recently, the Diamonds are well placed, with matches in hand over the leading group of clubs.
Lions co-promoter Alan Jones said: “The Diamonds’ promoter, George English, has put together a compact septet, and the synergy within the side is working as they are delivering championship form away from home!”
Leicester welcome back Lasse Bjerre after injury and are at full strength for the first time since their last home fixture when Somerset ended the Lions’ unbeaten home record.
Berwick Bandits welcome title-chasing Redcar Bears to Shielfield Park with a 7pm start. “We are undefeated here on Saturday nights since early in May,” said Berwick co-promoter Ryan Anderson. “But make no mistake, Redcar will be tough.”
The Redcar squad will race without Czech Republic favourite Matej Kus. “He has been suffering from a shoulder injury, but had hoped to return for this match,” said Anderson.
“However, we have learned he has failed a fitness test at home in Prague, and won’t be at Shielfield Park. But I’d warn that by their reverting to the rider-replacement regulation, which allows his races to be shared out among his team-mates, Redcar could well prove even stronger than they might have been with Matej Kus in the team!”
Berwick will have a familiar face on parade, when popular ace Ricky Ashworth returns to the ranks. The Manchester-based rider was sidelined by two April accidents – at Glasgow and shortly afterwards at Edinburgh – which left him with the after-effects of severe concussion.
“Kozza Smith will continue in his role as club captain, allowing Ricky to concentrate fully on getting himself back into the main business of scoring points for the Bandits,” said Bandits boss Ian Rae.
The Bears sit second in the league – boosted by an extra point awarded after an SCB inquiry into their recent match at Edinburgh – but Berwick, who lost out to the Bears by the narrowest of margins in a tense KO Cup encounter, are anxious to gain revenge.
With Nicki Barrett unfit, Bandits have invited 20-year-old Ashley Morris to act as their guest at reserve, while Redcar will employ Josh Bates as a replacement for Germany’s Max Dilger.
LEICESTER LIONS: Kauko Nieminen, Jan Graversen, Kevin Doolan, Lasse Bjerre, Magnus Karlsson, Alex Edberg, Robert Branford.
NEWCASTLE DIAMONDS: Stuart Robson (captain), Christian Henry, Andrew Tully, Ludvig Lindgren, Richie Worrall, Chris Schramm, Lewis Kerr.
BERWICK BANDITS: Ricky Ashworth, David Bellego, Robin Aspegren, Matty Wethers, Kozza Smith (captain), Ashley Morris (guest), Paul Starke.
REDCAR BEARS: Ulrich Ostergaard, Hugh Skidmore, Matej Kus (rider-replacement), Micky Dyer, Aaron Summers (captain), Josh Bates (Guest), Carl Wilkinson.