ERIC Boocock is backing Owlerton visitors Somerset to be one of the main contenders for Premier League honours.
The Rebels face Boocock’s Sheffield Tigers tomorrow on the back of two wins, home and away, against title favourites Ipswich.
And that means Tigers star Shane Parker will come up against the side who released him from their team plans during the winter.
Said Boocock: “I would imagine Shane will want to do well because everyone wants to score points against their old club.
“But it’s going to be tough because Somerset are a very solid team. I was surprised when they released Shane and we were able to accommodate him in our team plans, but fair play to them they’ve put a powerful team together.
“Travis McGowan is a star rider at Premier League level and he will love it around our track and the young lad Sam Masters is going to be the next hot prospect, he could be another Chris Holder or Darcy Ward.
“It’s going to be a superb meeting and all our boys are going to have to be on top form to get maximum points from it.
“But I believe our boys will gave enough strength in depth to beat Somerset. We need all our fans to come along and get behind us because they do make a difference to the riders.
“I expect the racing to be fast and furious and I’m sure it will be a highly entertaining meeting.
“The fact that they have beaten Ipswich home and away already this season shows what a good team they are because everybody has been saying Ipswich are the team to beat.
“And what a challenge for us, Somerset at home this week and Ipswich at home next week, the fixture compilers have served us up a treat with those!
“Cory Gathercole is a class act around this track so for them to have McGowan, Gathercole and Masters as a top three means they are strong and will fancy their chances of being a match for us.”
Ashley Birks is expected to take his place in the Tigers side after damaging his shoulder in a crash during last week’s Owlerton win over Newport.
Said Boocock: “It was an awkward tumble for the lad but he gave it a go at Workington on Saturday and full credit to him for that.
“He’s a tough lad and he’s determined to succeed at Premier League level and so far he’s been very impressive.
“He should be fit for this meeting, a few days rest after Workington will have done him good and I expect him to be firing on all cylinders. It should be a super meeting.”