Tuesday April 23, 2019
LEICESTER open their Championship campaign with a Midlands derby at Birmingham on Wednesday (7.30pm).

It’s the first time the clubs have met in an official competitive fixture since 1983, as although both clubs were members of the 2014 Elite League, they did not race each other before the collapse of the Brummies’ promotion at the time.

Since then, the Perry Barr outfit have rebuilt successfully with four years in the National League before stepping up to Championship level this season.

Lions have enjoyed a stunning start to the campaign, and confidence is high after three wins out of three over Easter and a place in the Championship Shield semi-finals.

But as at Sheffield on Sunday, they are set to be without Aussie star Ryan Douglas who needs more time to recover after his heavy crash in Saturday’s home match.

The visitors will cover Douglas’s absence with the rider-replacement facility as they face a Brummies side still searching for their first win of 2019 – although they went close at home to Somerset last week.

Boss Stewart Dickson said: “I’ve known Birmingham’s manager Laurence Rogers for a long time, he was at Sheffield on Sunday and no doubt he was taking a look at us, so he would have gone away with plenty to think about!

“But at the same time I’m sure he’ll have his team fired up, because much as I would like Leicester to stay under the radar for a bit longer, you can’t keep winning matches away from home and have nobody notice it!

“Wednesday’s meeting is certainly no foregone conclusion. I look at their reserves and Paco Castagna is scoring big, plus they also have James Shanes there, so their strength in depth potentially means they are stronger in certain areas than we are.

“But this is a night for our top boys to deliver. They are built as a solid team without a big-hitting No.1, with no disrespect to the guys they’ve got there – so Scott (Nicholls), Richie (Worrall) and Josh (Bates) are going to have to step up to the plate, because these are the sort of matches where they’re going to need to win races.

“We need to deal with their reserves and hopefully be able to take advantage when Heats 13 and 15 come round.

“We’re very hopeful that Ryan will be back on Saturday against Newcastle, but this match is going to come just too soon for him. There’s nothing broken though, and he’s slowly on the mend.

“There were one or two options I looked at, but I just feel with the way the team are riding at the moment it’s only fair that we give our own guys the extra races, and they proved on Sunday at Sheffield that they could cope with that.”

Lions season ticket holders are reminded that £10 admission is available at Perry Barr on production of their season ticket.

BIRMINGHAM: Ulrich Ostergaard, Tobias Thomsen, Zach Wajtknecht, Ashley Morris, Kyle Newman, Paco Castagna, James Shanes.
LEICESTER: Scott Nicholls, Ellis Perks, Josh Bates, Ryan Douglas R/R, Richie Worrall, Jack Thomas, Connor Mountain.

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