LEICESTER head into National Development League play-off action on Wednesday with the first leg of their semi-final at Oxford (7.30pm).

The Lion Cubs topped the table but will face a tough test against the Chargers who have gained in strength as the season has gone on, and have to be regarded as a serious threat having just made it into the top four.

It had been expected that the Cowley side would miss out, but they were handed a reprieve when Belle Vue surprisingly failed to score a league point at Armadale last Friday and were eliminated from contention.

The Cubs drew 45-45 in an entertaining meeting on their last trip to the University city, and a similar result would certainly be more than acceptable ahead of Saturday’s second leg at the Paul Chapman & Sons Arena.

But the Chargers finished the regular campaign in good form and hit the 60-point mark in their most recent home match against Kent, so the Cubs know they need to be at their best.

Dave Howard’s side are at full strength, whilst the home side operate rider replacement for long-term injury victim Nathan Stoneman, with all riders eligible for an extra outing.

At reserve Arran Butcher has also been ruled out, and the Chargers have named unattached teenager Ashton Boughen, who is set to line up for Mildenhall later in the season.

Howard said: “Oxford have strengthened their team as they’ve gone through the season, bringing in youngster Jody Scott who has done really well, along with Henry Atkins.

“They will be really tough opponents, but we’ve beaten them at home before and we’ve drawn there as well – and we’d be happy with those results again!”

OXFORD: Jordan Jenkins, Nathan Stoneman r/r, Sam Hagon, Jody Scott, Henry Atkins, Ashton Boughen, Jacob Clouting, Kai Ward (no.8).
LEICESTER: Dan Thompson, Max Perry, Connor Coles, Tom Spencer, Joe Thompson, Vinnie Foord, Mickie Simpson.

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