LIONS v PLYMOUTH, PREVIEW

Friday August 27, 2021
LEICESTER welcome speedway legend Jason Crump to the Paul Chapman & Sons Arena on Saturday (7pm) – with the play-off race having taken a major twist this week.

Treble World Champion Crump made a dramatic return to racing this year and was a headline signing by league newcomers Plymouth, who are the Watling JCB Lions’ opponents.

Crump has suffered an injury-hit campaign but has run into good form in recent weeks, and the Gladiators include another hugely experienced former Grand Prix star in Bjarne Pedersen, who had a brief spell with the Lions at Elite League level in 2015.

There have been complications for the Lions over the past few days, with the sad withdrawal of Eastbourne resulting in the Championship league table being re-calculated.

It is hoped by all that racing at Arlington can resume next season, but in sporting terms the Lions have now lost the points they gained from home and away wins over the Eagles earlier in the campaign.

That makes the table look substantially different, whereas the top six had previously looked to be almost locked-in - and although Leicester still hold sixth place, several of the chasing pack will now have renewed hopes of forcing their way in.

Plymouth have only picked up one point on the road so far but have retained plenty of ambition and taken some major scalps at home - and are now substantially strengthened by the signing of Richard Lawson, who became available due to the Eagles’ closure.

Lions, meanwhile, will be without Australian star Nick Morris who suffered concussion in a crash whilst racing for Wolverhampton at King’s Lynn on Thursday.

Morris now faces a mandatory nine-day period on the sidelines so Lions boss Stewart Dickson has been booking guests for the week ahead – with the experienced Rory Schlein coming in on Saturday.

Dickson said: “I’m very saddened to see Eastbourne pulling out, as I always am when I hear of a club in difficulties.

“Speaking purely from a Leicester perspective and how it affects the table, there’s no doubt that we are hit harder than any other club, and it has now given several others an opportunity to get into the play-offs.

“I wouldn’t necessarily say we’re looking over our shoulders just yet, but it’s really now time for Leicester to kick into gear if we have serious ambitions about this season.

“Losing Nick is a blow but we know Rory will do a job for us, and I’m very hopeful and expectant that our home form will continue.

“It’s an important meeting and whilst before they signed Richard Lawson people might have been saying ‘it’s only Plymouth,’ I don’t think you can say ‘it’s only Plymouth’ any more. Their team looks up for a right good battle.”

A busy weekend at the Paul Chapman & Sons Arena also includes the latest round of the British Youth Championship on Bank Holiday Monday (4pm) with Roger Webster Lion Cubs youngster Ben Trigger included in the 500cc line-up.

LEICESTER: Hans Andersen, Dan Thompson, Rory Schlein, Kyle Howarth, Ryan Douglas, Joe Thompson, Zaine Kennedy.
PLYMOUTH: Bjarne Pedersen, Zane Keleher, Zach Cook, Jason Crump, Richard Lawson, Alfie Bowtell, Dillon Ruml.




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