Ashley yet to reveal decision

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ASHLEY Birks could be on the verge of leaving Sheffield after just one season with his hometown club.

Birks has said he is close to finalising his plans for the 2012 campaign but Tigers owner Neil Machin says he is yet to hear back from the youngster.

And Machin, about to enter his 20th season in charge at Owlerton, won’t be drawn into an auction for the rider.

Machin said: “These are tough economic times and for the last 19 years I have paid the bills at Sheffield Speedway. There are some clubs who still have debts from last season. Ashley is a fine rider and he has the opportunity to become a local hero. He could carve out a career for himself at Sheffield as the hometown boy.

“But we’ve had a chat about financial terms and I know Ashley is strongly influenced by those around him and they will help him make the final decision. No doubt there is interest from elsewhere; if he wants to take a few extra quid elsewhere just for the sake of it then there is nothing I can do about that.

“In my opinion Ashley would be foolish to walk away from his local club where the fans love him, but he signed a Scunthorpe contract right at the start of his career and I guess they have first option on him.”