Paco thanks Tigers for their warm welcome

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Paco Castagna has paid tribute to Sheffield - and the Bates family in particular - for helping him settle into British Speedway.

And the Italian ace has also backed Tigers to beat Peterborough in the Premier League play-offs when they launch their bid at Owlerton on Thursday.

Castagna has a vital role to play at reserve as Jack Lee’s men look to build up a handy first leg lead.

Said Castagna: “I couldn’t have asked for anything more from Sheffield, they are a great club and they have helped me so much since I came in.

“Paul Bates has made me very welcome and in fact the entire Bates family have been so good to me, they have really helped me to settle into British racing.

“I’ve been happy so far with what I have done but still feel I could have scored more than I have, but it’s a very tough league there are some very good riders.

“Sheffield is a big, fast track and I enjoy riding there but you have to be brave and put it on the line.

“I’m looking forward to the play-offs, I think we have done really well to get there and now it would be nice to beat Peterborough and go through.

“We are at home on Thursday and I’m not sure when the away leg will be staged just yet, but I’m hopeful we can build up a big lead from Thursday to take to them.

“We have a good team at Sheffield now and I think we can be hard to beat at home, we will just have to see how we get on.

“I’ve been frustrated a little by a lack of meetings in September but I was in Croatia for a Pairs event over the weekend so at least I got some laps under my belt.”

Tigers are still waiting on news of the second leg with Peterborough, but is also understood the British Speedway Promoters’ Association have been called in to try and establish the date.