Thursday September 30, 2021
LEICESTER enter play-off action this weekend with the first leg of their Championship quarter-final tie at Scunthorpe on Friday.

The Watling JCB Lions must quickly put the disappointment of their KO Cup exit in midweek behind them as they head to the Eddie Wright Raceway to step up their defence of the league title.

The Lincolnshire venue has been a profitable one for the Lions so far in 2021, with a 52-38 win in the first round of the Cup in May, followed by a 51-39 victory in the league in early September.

But a measure of the Scorpions’ form around their own circuit is that those have been their only two home defeats so far this season – so the Lions must be on their guard in order to leave the tie in a good position ahead of Saturday’s return fixture at the Paul Chapman & Sons Arena.

Leicester are once again without Dan Thompson, who is gradually recovering from the illness which forced him out of last weekend’s league match at Glasgow, leading to a compulsory eight-day absence.

Boss Stewart Dickson has elected to switch the rider-replacement facility to No.4, meaning skipper Kyle Howarth goes out with Nick Morris in Heat 1. Lions will revert to their more normal riding order in the home fixture with r/r for Thompson at No.2.

Scunthorpe are forced into changes themselves with Thomas Jorgensen ruled out due to knee ligament damage suffered in a crash at Sheffield last weekend, whilst Theo Pijper has this week been hit by an SCB suspension.

The Scorpions operate rider replacement for Jorgensen and bring in Kasper Andersen for Tero Aarnio who has been absent long-term with a visa issue, whilst Lions asset Connor Mountain guests at reserve for Pijper.

Dickson said: “We face a real challenge against Scunthorpe, and the pressure is on in these ties because this is sudden death. If we don’t qualify, that’s the end of our season.

“That also makes it exciting, and Scunthorpe will be gunning for us on Friday, especially after seeing what happened to us at Poole, which was really disappointing.

“But it’s all about what we do. We need to bounce back, roll our sleeves up and get stuck in, and that will be the message. We need to get into the semi-finals and take it from there.”

The other quarter-final tie also takes place this weekend with Edinburgh facing Redcar, and once both have been completed league leaders Poole have the choice of opponents in the semis.

SCUNTHORPE: Adam Ellis, Simon Lambert, Jordan Palin, Kasper Andersen, Thomas Jorgensen R/R, Josh MacDonald, Connor Mountain.
LEICESTER: Nick Morris, Kyle Howarth, Ryan Douglas, Dan Thompson R/R, Hans Andersen, Joe Thompson, Zaine Kennedy.

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