LEICESTER kick off a decisive weekend in their bid for NDL silverware when they visit Oxford on Saturday (7.45pm).

The first leg of the National Development League Grand Final has been hastily re-arranged after a postponement at Cowley on Wednesday, and it means the Lion Cubs will know what they have to do when they return home the following afternoon.

Dave Howard’s side are currently on an impressive 12-match winning run in all competitions, but this will be their toughest test yet as the Chargers have also enjoyed an excellent campaign.

And with the hosts having hit a particularly strong run of form at home in the second half of the season, the Lion Cubs need to keep themselves in the tie ahead of Sunday’s second leg.

A repeat of last season’s play-off semi-final at Cowley would certainly be a satisfactory outcome as the Chargers were limited to just a two-point lead from that meeting before the Cubs finished the job at Beaumont Park.

But they will travel without skipper Joe Thompson, who is required to race for Poole in the Championship KO Cup Final on Saturday. Kent’s Ben Morley has been booked to guest – a role he took in the league fixture between the clubs at Cowley in July 2022 where he scored a brilliant 15-point maximum in a 45-45 draw.

Dan Thompson takes over as skipper, whilst at reserve Vinnie Foord is back from his mandatory concussion absence.

The Chargers are at full strength with No.1 and captain Jordan Jenkins being declared fit to return from a recent hand injury.

Howard said: “In the first leg we will be giving everything to keep it as close as possible with Oxford, to put us in a good position for the second leg at home on Sunday.

“In the regular season there was only one point between us in the aggregate home and away score, so we know the Final will be a big challenge, but we will be giving our all to try to win the NDL for the third time in the last four seasons.

“But this will probably be the toughest challenge we have faced in the Finals we have been in.

“It is sad that we are without our captain Joe Thompson for the away leg on Saturday as he is riding in the Championship KO Cup Final for Poole, but a big thank you to Ben Morley for stepping in for us at Oxford at such short notice.

“So we look forward to this big challenge with Oxford as we give our all to try to become NDL champions once again.”

OXFORD: Jordan Jenkins, Ryan Kinsley, Jody Scott, Luke Killeen, Henry Atkins, Jacob Clouting, Jason Garrad.
LEICESTER: Dan Thompson, Ashton Boughen, Max Perry, Tom Spencer, Ben Morley, Vinnie Foord, Max James.

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