LEICESTER defend a slender two-point lead when they head to Poole on Wednesday for the second leg of their KO Cup semi-final.

It’s the start of a massive run of three matches in four days for the Watling JCB Lions, who then travel to Edinburgh on Friday in the Championship play-offs before hosting the Monarchs this Saturday.

In KO Cup business, the Lions were restricted to a 46-44 victory at the Paul Chapman & Sons Arena in last Saturday’s opener, as the Pirates fought back from eight points down in the closing stages.

That will certainly make them favourites in the eyes of most neutrals to progress to the Final against Redcar – but the Lions do have some previous history on their side from 2022, as they rode superbly at Wimborne Road in June to smash Poole’s lengthy unbeaten home record.

The Pirates have, however, returned to a run of consistent form around their own circuit during the summer, and like the Lions they are still involved in all three competitions.

The teams are unchanged in terms of personnel on Wednesday, but boss Stewart Dickson has elected to make a change in riding order with Connor Mountain moving back to the No.2 position, swapping places with Dan Thompson who goes to No.4.

Dickson said: “It’s certainly not impossible, I certainly haven’t given up the tie and I know the riders haven’t either so we’ll see that Wednesday brings.

“We did have the luxury of Dan Thompson at reserve when we won down there in the league, and no two meetings are ever going to be the same.

“I think when we beat them there in June Poole weren’t quite on it, and they’re probably a wee bit more on it now than what they were then.

“But we have won there, and we are certainly capable if all seven riders ride well, which unfortunately wasn’t the case on Saturday. We need all seven firing at Wimborne Road if we’re to have a chance.

“That will be the team-talk on Wednesday – all seven need to be firing if we’re going to make the KO Cup Final.”

POOLE: Danny King, Ben Cook, Steve Worrall, Drew Kemp, Richard Lawson, Zach Cook, Nathan Ablitt.
LEICESTER: Nick Morris, Connor Mountain, Richie Worrall, Dan Thompson, Kyle Howarth, Joe Thompson, Max Clegg.

*LIVE STREAMING: https://livestream.poole-speedway.com

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