LEICESTER manager Stewart Dickson is calling for one final push to get the Watling JCB Lions over the line and into the Sports Insure Premiership play-offs.

The race for fourth place has gone down to the wire with the Lions currently trailing Ipswich on race points difference, and therefore needing to add to their league total when they visit Peterborough in their final regular fixture on Thursday.

The two points they gained at Wolverhampton on Monday, however, have made a major difference as rather than needing to win at the East of England Arena, Lions only need to take the aggregate point – and they have a 24-point lead in their favour courtesy of a 57-33 win when the sides met at the Pidcock Motorcycles Arena, Beaumont Park in July.

Six weeks ago, such a task would have appeared relatively straightforward, but that is not the case now as the Panthers are a team transformed from their struggles for much of the season, with a number of new signings making a positive impact.

They have recently collected a pair of 53-37 home wins over play-off qualifiers Sheffield – and whilst such a margin would be acceptable for the Lions on Thursday, the Panthers could easily have won those matches by more points.

And Dickson is therefore urging as much backing as possible for his team as they bid to make history and qualify for the top-flight play-offs for the first time.

He said: “I’m sure we will have plenty of supporters making the trip, and my message to them is to be as loud as possible.

“It makes a massive difference even on the track walk to see the Leicester fans on the exit of bend two and up the back straight as they will be at Peterborough, and that atmosphere is something that both myself and the riders can feed off.

“This is a massive night for us. Leicester came bottom four years out of five, and third from bottom in the other year the last time we were in this league, and our target for this season was always to finish in the top four.

“The camp was buzzing after Monday at Wolverhampton, and it’s now in our own hands, which is what I wanted. We now have the opportunity to go and get what we need on Thursday night.

“Peterborough have got a very good team now – when Rob Lyon sent it through I looked it and thought ‘wow, that’s strong’, so we know they’ll come out with all guns blazing and it’s going to be tough.

“But our confidence is high now, and you see the difference in the atmosphere when it comes to this time of the season, which is something you can’t get in June or July. We want to make history for the club, and we want everyone behind us.”

The Lions are set to be without former Peterborough rider Richie Worrall after he was deemed unfit to race when attending Plymouth’s home match against Berwick on Tuesday.

The Speedway Control Bureau confirmed on the evening that two riders from that meeting had returned a ‘non-negative’ result to alcohol and drug testing, with the samples to be sent for further analysis.

Meanwhile the Panthers have a doubt over Niels-Kristian Iversen due to injury, and they will operate rider replacement if the Dane is ruled out.

PETERBOROUGH: Artem Laguta, Niels-Kristian Iversen (or r/r), Vadim Tarasenko, Benjamin Basso, Chris Harris, Ben Cook, Jordan Jenkins.
LEICESTER: Max Fricke, Justin Sedgmen, Lewis Kerr, Richie Worrall r/r, Richard Lawson, Jake Allen, Drew Kemp.

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July 18, 2024 19.30

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