Somerset Rebels won't ease up against Sheffield Tigers in race for play-offs
With the Cases Somerset Rebels having virtually confirmed their place in the end-of-season Premier League Play-Offs, there will be no let up from the team as they welcome the Sheffield Tigers to the Oaktree Arena on Friday night (7.30pm).
A combination of match points and pride are at stake for the Rebels in their penultimate fixture of the regular league season as they look to secure either of the top two places in the Premier League in order to have the advantage of picking their opposition in th e play-offs.
The team will also be looking to continue their unbeaten home run for 2012 in official matches.
Sheffield, not unlike Plymouth who provided the Rebels’ opposition last Friday, are not having a season that they will care to remember as they lie in the lower reaches of the Premier League.
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The Tigers, however, will be buoyed by the fact that their number one, Czech Josef Franc, has recently returned from injury.
In their captain Richard Hall and Ricky Wells, they have two riders who have in the past shown a liking for the Oaktree Arena.
The duo represented Sheffield in the recent Premier League Pairs Championship held at Somerset, although they did not have the best of nights on that occasion.
Unfortunately for Sheffield, they will be without Argentine Emiliano Sanchez who is sidelined with injury, while their top five is rounded out by Australian Hugh Skidmore.
Injury woes have also blighted the Tigers at reserves, their British Under-21 Champion Joe Haines has been out with a wrist injury but is expected to return for Friday’s match, while Essex-based Chris Schramm fills the other reserve berth.
Somerset have a major doubt over the participation of captain Jason Doyle for Friday, following his suspected broken jaw sustained when riding in Poland on Sunday.
Should Doyle not be fit to ride, then Somerset will use a guest rider as replacement.
On a more positive note, the Rebels will be welcoming back Jesper Monberg and Alex Davies to their ranks, after the pair missed last Friday’s home win over Plymouth.
Monberg was riding in the final round of the Danish National Championship, where he finished 11th overall, while Davies was riding for Australia in the Under-21 World Cup Final where he helped the Aussies to second place behind Poland.
“Just because we look to have booked our place in the play-offs, we will not be taking our foot off the gas and taking things easy,” said Rebels co-promoter Garry May.
“A winning habit is one I want the team to maintain as we head into those play-offs as it gives everyone that extra degree of confidence that could make the all the difference come the final reckoning, and we will be going all out for another excellent team performance and with it another home win when we face Sheffield on Friday.”