Friday May 06, 2022
LEICESTER face a different challenge on Saturday as Championship newcomers Oxford make their first-ever visit to the Paul Chapman & Sons Arena (7pm).

The Watling JCB Lions remain on top of the league table thanks to a perfect home record so far, along with a point gained at Redcar, and this is their last home league fixture for a month.

Remaining action at the venue in May features the Lion Cubs for the next two weeks, and then the Lions’ KO Cup quarter-final tie with Scunthorpe.

The Cheetahs are very welcome additions to the second tier this season, with racing having returned to their famous Cowley venue for the first time since 2007.

They have opened up in front of big crowds and proved competitive in the early weeks, under the management of former World Champion Jason Crump and Peter Schroeck.

And they bring with them three former Lions, in the form of 2019 title-winning skipper Scott Nicholls, the fast-improving Jack Thomas who also started the ’19 campaign with Leicester, and Kyle Newman who rode for the club in their top-flight days.

Along with Nicholls, Oxford have a second big hitter in Troy Batchelor, and the duo piled up 24 points between them when they visited with Kent last September.

New averages for May mean changes in the Lions’ riding order, with Richie Worrall now top of the rankings and therefore taking over the No.1 position.

Boss Stewart Dickson has elected to switch Dan Thompson to No.2, meaning the Nick Morris/Connor Mountain pairing moves to the middle order. Anders Rowe returns from illness at reserve.

Dickson said: “Richie going to No.1 is richly deserved, as he’s been riding very well for us.

“I’ve then put Nick to No.3 in order that I can continue his partnership with Connor, as I feel they’ve ridden well together, and that’s a combination I wanted to keep.

“They have Josh Macdonald back from injury, and Dillon Ruml scored seven points the first time he saw the Leicester track, which is very impressive, so we’re under no illusions about the task, especially with Scott Nicholls back in town.

“It’s going to be another tough one, but that’s what you get in this league and we’re looking forward to it.”

The club have also been carrying out track work this week with a blade brought in from Bradford in order to smooth out the surface, which has to stand up to a great deal of activity during the season both on race-nights and during the week.

LEICESTER: Richie Worrall, Dan Thompson, Nick Morris, Connor Mountain, Kyle Howarth, Anders Rowe, Joe Thompson.
OXFORD: Scott Nicholls, Kyle Newman, Jack Thomas, Cameron Heeps, Troy Batchelor, Dillon Ruml, Josh Macdonald.

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