LEICESTER aim to take another step towards silverware when they host Mildenhall in the first leg of the NDL Knockout Cup Final on Saturday (7pm).

The Lion Cubs will be looking to build up an advantage to take into next Sunday’s (October 23) return at West Row as they bid to retain the trophy.

Leicester defeated Belle Vue to win the Cup back in 2019, with the 2020 season cancelled due to the pandemic and the competition not taking place in the shortened ’21 campaign.

The Lion Cubs still have a 100 per cent record at the Paul Chapman & Sons Arena this year, but their closest home league match was against the Fen Tigers, with the Cubs winning 49-40.

And the Cup Final could also be a precursor to the NDL Grand Final, as Mildenhall are well-placed to qualify for the title decider, going into Sunday’s semi-final second leg at home to Berwick facing a narrow three-point deficit.

However, the Fen Tigers do have injury issues to contend with, as key middle-order man Jack Kingston is out with concussion, and they operate rider replacement at No.2.

In the heat-leader berths, skipper Jason Edwards is joined by a strong guest in Lee Complin, who stands in for long-term injury victim James Shanes.

But the visitors have also been hit by the loss of Sam Bebee at reserve, and with unattached three-pointers the only option they have chosen on this occasion to fill the gap by bringing in James Laker to partner Luke Muff.

The Lion Cubs are at full strength and track an unchanged line-up from the side which overcame Oxford last weekend to reach the NDL Grand Final.

Manager Dave Howard said: “The team have full focus on the vital home leg of the NDL KO Cup Final against a strong Mildenhall side who have pushed us closest of any team at the Paul Chapman & Sons Arena this season.

“Every race and every place, like last week, will once again be vital to our chances of lifting the Cup, as we give every effort to win and see if we can build up a lead to take with us to West Row.”

LEICESTER: Dan Thompson, Max Perry, Connor Coles, Tom Spencer, Joe Thompson, Vinnie Foord, Mickie Simpson.
MILDENHALL: Jason Edwards, Jack Kingston r/r, Josh Warren, Alex Spooner, Lee Complin, James Laker, Luke Muff.

*THE Lion Cubs will also visit Armadale next Friday (October 21) in their final regular league match of the season, although both Dan and Joe Thompson will miss that fixture as they will be racing for the Watling JCB Lions in the Championship Grand Final at Poole.

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Leicester Lions V Ipswich Witches
July 18, 2024 19.30

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