LEICESTER Lion Cubs are building up to their National Development League title defence this year – in what promises to be an even tougher competition.

The Lion Cubs topped the table last season before overcoming Oxford and Mildenhall in the play-offs, and their team for 2023 is already strongly fancied to challenge as they look to retain both league and KO Cup crowns.

But there are already a number of other powerful-looking sides being built, and the league structure this year requires teams to finish in the top two, which will see them go straight into the Grand Final.

Manager Dave Howard said: “We’ve got our team group going and I’m keeping them all up to date with what’s happening.

“Obviously it’s a bit quieter at this time of year but everyone has had some input, and I’ve let them know what happened first with the AGM and now with the league format being finalised.

“The track isn’t available at the moment because of the work going on, but we hope to have a team session before the season starts, we just don’t know exactly when that will be yet.

“It’s all about getting the same team spirit and togetherness that we had last year, everybody being in it together. That togetherness made such a difference and really boosted us in our performances.

“I do think it’s going to be a really competitive league this year and with it being just the top two, it’s going to be so essential to have a strong home record so that you pick up the aggregate bonus points, and to pick up points on the away tracks as well.”

NDL fixtures are in the process of being finalised, with the Lion Cubs set to race their home matches on Saturday evenings as before (7pm), whilst the senior Lions side switches to the fixed Premiership race-nights of Mondays and Thursdays, with home matches primarily on Thursdays (7.30pm).

Meanwhile track staff will be at the Paul Chapman & Sons Arena this Sunday as the winter maintenance schedule continues.

Drainage work is close to completion, which should go a long way towards eradicating the issues encountered towards the end of last season, and the bulk of the track work itself will take place after the worst of the winter weather has cleared.

The first official fixture for the Watling JCB Lions is on Thursday March 30 when they host Ipswich in the first leg of their KO Cup tie.

Next Home Meeting

Leicester Lions V Oxford Spires
May 27, 2024

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