Friday October 15, 2021
LEICESTER could be just 15 races away from another Grand Final – but first they face a massive meeting at the Paul Chapman & Sons Arena on Saturday.

The Watling JCB Lions host Championship leaders Poole in the second leg of their play-off semi-final, and they go into the match needing to turn around a six-point deficit after a fine job to restrict the Pirates to a 48-42 win at Wimborne Road on Wednesday.

The return fixture starts at the slightly later time of 7.30pm due to the televised Speedway of Nations Final in the afternoon as well as Leicester City’s home match against Manchester United.

Lions need to reach 49 points on the night to guarantee progression, which is exactly the score they hit the last time the Pirates were in town in KO Cup action – although on that occasion it wasn’t enough to go through.

With Hans Andersen on the sidelines once again as he serves a mandatory absence after being signed out with concussion at Belle Vue on Monday, boss Stewart Dickson has again booked play-off specialist Chris Harris to guest.

Harris was part of Peterborough’s victorious Premiership team on Thursday when they overcame Belle Vue in the Grand Final, and he will certainly receive a warm welcome from Lions fans.

The Pirates also name the same side which lined up on Wednesday, with Zach Cook again guesting for the injured Stefan Nielsen.

Cook’s brother Ben was a key man on their last visit, whilst in the other reserve berth Danish prospect Benjamin Basso makes his first appearance at Beaumont Park.

The winners of the semi-final will face either Glasgow or Edinburgh in the Grand Final, with the Scottish sides scheduled to meet at Armadale on Saturday and then at Ashfield next Thursday.

Dickson said: “We kept the tie alive with our performance on Wednesday, but we haven’t done anything else yet.

“To beat the best team in the league by more than six points is still going to take a big effort, and it’s not going to be easy. We’re going to need a full seven-man performance.

“I felt Zach Cook was their match-winner in the first leg, he really took care of our lower end, but I’d like to think our lower end can bounce back at home.

“We also need our supporters right behind us. It was a noisy crowd at Poole on Wednesday, very sporting I must say but very noisy, and we need our fans to be the same on Saturday.”

LEICESTER: Nick Morris, Dan Thompson, Ryan Douglas, Kyle Howarth, Chris Harris, Joe Thompson, Zaine Kennedy.
POOLE: Steve Worrall, Danyon Hume, Rory Schlein, Ben Cook, Danny King, Zach Cook, Benjamin Basso.

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