LEICESTER have announced a double team change (subject to BSP approval) ahead of their Sports Insure Premiership trip to Wolverhampton on Monday.

The Watling JCB Lions have moved to sign former favourite Richie Worrall and 2017 British Champion Craig Cook as they head into a vital phase of the season.

The club have released recent signing Troy Batchelor, who came into the team last month when Nick Morris was suspended.

As a result of the need to remain within the points limit, the Lions have also parted company with captain Chris Harris, who has moved into the spot vacated by Worrall at Peterborough.

Co-promoter Stewart Dickson explained: “This isn’t just a knee-jerk reaction to Monday’s loss against Ipswich – my head was already spinning with options before that.

“I looked at various permutations and it could really only be done with two riders coming in and two moving out to get what I wanted, and unfortunately Bomber has become a casualty of numbers.

“I’ve got to stress that I was very, very happy with the seven riders we had up until four weeks ago when the Nick situation arose. There were no changes on the horizon at that stage.

“It was clear that Troy has been playing catch-up racing-wise and fitness-wise on what everybody else has on him in the Premiership.

“He’s been scoring decent points in the Championship, but the Premiership is a step up again and the two of us had an honest and frank discussion about it.

“He admitted himself that it’s going to take him maybe four to six weeks to get up to speed, and we basically don’t have that time.

“I think it’s fair to say I was maybe a bit hasty and jumped into the signing when Nick was suspended, because I didn’t want to use rider replacement, which I could have done for a week or two.

“Sometimes when I make signings such as Justin Sedgmen going from a four to a six-point average I’m happy to take the praise, so I also have to hold my hands up on this one, but it’s nothing against Batch, it just wasn’t working out.

“I’m pleased to see Bomber has got fixed up straight away, which does soften the blow a bit for him, and it’s not an ideal situation especially as he was my captain.

“It’s fair to say that he admitted himself that he could never quite get the right set-up around Leicester for one reason or another, but I’m not for one minute saying he did a bad job, he was always good to work with and we wish him all the best.

“Richie and Craig will form a new middle-order, and I know they are both very, very good around Leicester which obviously ticks a lot of boxes.

“I know Richie has been struggling at Peterborough which for a rider then doesn’t help when you go on your travels either. I think by getting back to Leicester you’ll maybe see a different rider away from home as well, and he’s raring to go.

“With Craig, he has been in good form with Edinburgh and has taken over the No.1 spot there, and when I spoke to him about coming to us, he was buzzing.

“Obviously there was an incident at Armadale on Friday, but he’s been declared fit to race on Monday and certainly he’s very much up for joining us.”

Max Fricke has been appointed captain of the Watling JCB Lions, who visit Wolverhampton for the first time this season on Monday.

They have a further away match to come at Sheffield on Thursday, with the play-off race now clearly featuring five clubs chasing four places.

Ipswich remain the outsiders due to number of matches raced, but the Witches won again at King’s Lynn on Thursday, and they visit Peterborough on Monday.

WOLVERHAMPTON: Sam Masters, Steve Worrall, Luke Becker, Ryan Douglas, Rory Schlein, Zach Cook, Leon Flint.
LEICESTER: Max Fricke, Justin Sedgmen, Richie Worrall, Craig Cook, Richard Lawson, Jake Allen, Drew Kemp.

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