Thursday September 26, 2019
LEICESTER start a pivotal weekend in their Championship title quest when they visit Redcar on Friday.

Having finished top of the league table, the Watling JCB Lions elected to face the Bears in the play-off semi-finals, and travel to Teesside for the first leg before hosting Saturday’s return fixture at the Paul Chapman & Sons Arena.

Stewart Dickson’s side ended the regular campaign on a six-match winning run, including away successes at Birmingham and Scunthorpe – and they followed that by being victorious both home and away against Eastbourne in the Championship Shield Final.

But they are fully aware that any of the other three play-off qualifiers will pose a stern test, with Redcar having enjoyed a successful second half of the season themselves.

The Bears rapidly climbed the table after making team changes, winning three away matches and only losing one at home – and that when they were below full-strength – to finish third in the final standings.

Lions, however, are comfortable at the Media Prima Arena, having won 49-41 there in the Championship Shield in mid-April, and they then collected a league point from a 48-42 defeat in late June.

With Richie Worrall now ruled out for the remainder of the season after a practice at Leicester recently, Dickson has called up former Redcar racer Richard Lawson to guest in the first leg, whilst Worrall’s brother Steve will step in on Saturday.

The Bears have lost Michael Palm Toft due to injury and bring in Jake Allen for their home leg – and they also include a potential trump card reserve in Broc Nicol, coming in for Nathan Greaves.

Dickson said: “All of the four play-off teams are strong, and having topped the table we’re now the ones with something to lose – but we feel strong over two legs against anyone.

“Redcar are a good side and they’re probably motivated by us picking them, but we had to pick someone, and it was a group decision as our riders enjoy the Redcar track.

“I’m always confident in our team having the ability to keep things close at the very least, as we’ve proved time and again this season, and we’re on a winning run. We haven’t lost since the end of July and that’s a good position to be going into these meetings in.

“We’ve won the Championship Shield already, but this is the big one and I can assure the supporters that our full focus is on Redcar, and everyone is determined to make it a double this season.”

REDCAR: Charles Wright, Kasper Andersen, Jake Allen, Jordan Stewart, Erik Riss, Tom Woolley, Broc Nicol.
LEICESTER: Scott Nicholls, Ellis Perks, Richard Lawson, Ty Proctor, Ryan Douglas, Joe Lawlor, Connor Mountain.

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