TOP OF THE TABLE CLASH
THE top two sides in the Championship clash at Wimborne Road tonight (Wednesday) as holders Poole meet current leaders Leicester.
The Lions are five points clear after a run of six successive wins, three of them on the road where they have secured maximum points – whilst the Pirates are unbeaten in 23 matches at home.
Connor Mountain returns for the visitors after the birth of his daughter, whilst Ben Morley steps in as a guest at reserve.
Poole promoter Danny Ford said: “Without a doubt we have the two in-form sides on show, and they pushed us really hard last season, possibly the hardest we were pushed all year, and they look even stronger this time around.
“I am fully expecting a titanic battle, and this will be the hardest of all meetings, one to really test our proud unbeaten home run. Both teams have a similar build to them, three very big hitting heat-leaders supported by solid second-strings and reserves capable of turning in match-winning performances.
“Add to that the battles between the Worrall brothers, Steve and Richie, which always adds an extra dimension when they face up to each other, and we have the base ingredients for an interesting meeting.”
Lions boss Stewart Dickson said: “I’d like to think we’ve done enough for a play-off place, barring a total collapse, but we won’t be taking our foot off the gas.
“We want one of those top two positions, which we missed out on very narrowly last season.
“Credit to the riders, because they’ve certainly exceeded my expectations so far, but there’s still a long way to go and we’re not getting carried away – it’s very firmly back to the 2019 ‘me’!”
BIRMINGHAM look to end a run of three successive home defeats when they host Edinburgh in tonight’s (Wednesday) live-streamed British Speedway Network fixture.
The Brummies have lost out to Oxford, Poole and Leicester at Perry Barr in recent weeks, and face a Monarchs side who impressed on the road in their recent Southern tour, taking a point at Plymouth and just missing out at Poole.
The home side include Ricky Wells and Tom Brennan as guests for Claus Vissing (Danish fixture) and Josh Auty (injured), but welcome back James Shanes after a brief spell on the sidelines.
The Monarchs continue to operate rider replacement for the injured Lasse Fredriksen, whilst Jason Edwards stands in for James Sarjeant, and Paco Castagna returns to his former club.
Brummies boss Laurence Rogers said: “It goes without saying that we’d hoped to be in a better position at this stage of our season.
“But there’s still a fair way to go, there’s still meetings to be ridden and points to be picked up, starting on Wednesday.
“We need a win really, that would potentially move to within three points of Edinburgh and we’d close in on that pack above us too.
“We know it won’t be easy though because Edinburgh are on a bit of a roll at the moment.”
*LIVE STREAMING: https://watch.britishspeedway.co.uk
OXFORD return to Championship action after a three-week break when they face Newcastle at Cowley tonight (Wednesday)
The Cheetahs’ last meeting was a win at Birmingham to cancel out a home defeat to the Brummies 24 hours earlier, and they track a full side with Josh Macdonald back from injury.
Newcastle are without three of their top five with Lewis Kerr and Alfie Bowtell guesting for Bradley Wilson-Dean and Matthew Wethers, whilst rider replacement is in operation for the sidelined Paul Starke.
Oxford co-boss Peter Schroeck said: “We’re not quite where we wanted to be in the table, but that’s testament to the competitive nature of Championship speedway.
“Our results against Birmingham prove just because you beat a team on the road does not guarantee you success at home.
“We need to be aware of this when Newcastle visit tonight. They will be disappointed with where they are in the table and determined to prove a point.
“We require a solid run of results between now and the middle of August if we’re to challenge for a play-off spot, so the hard work begins tonight. We’ve got the advantage of racing more meetings at home between now and the end of the season, but that counts for little unless everyone is firing on all cylinders.”
WEDNESDAY JUNE 8:
CHAMPIONSHIP: Birmingham v Edinburgh 7.30, Oxford v Newcastle 7.30, Poole v Leicester 7.30
THURSDAY JUNE 9:
PREMIERSHIP: King’s Lynn v Ipswich 7.30, Sheffield v Wolverhampton 7.30
FRIDAY JUNE 10:
CHAMPIONSHIP: Edinburgh v Newcastle 7.30, Redcar v Oxford 7.30, Scunthorpe v Glasgow 7.30