Tigers boss Jack Lee has warned his riders they will all need to be on form as they prepare for the busiest spell of the season.
Lee’s men face Ipswich in another tough Premier League test tonight before heading to Somerset tomorrow. They then travel to Ipswich on Bank Holiday Monday and to Redcar the following night for a rearranged League Cup tie.
Lee is hoping last week’s home defeat by Somerset will prove to be a blip after losing popular duo Simon Stead and David Bellego to injury. And he says bouncing back on home shale tonight is the priority in front of the club’s growing fan base. He said: “Everyone has got to be up to scratch if we are going to do anything this year. We had a couple of riders who were off the pace against Somerset, Ash Birks and Josh Bates, and had they been on their normal form we’d have won. Ash was feeling unwell all night and Josh had bike problems.
“We’ll have a team meeting before the Witches come here and it’ll be made clear that we can’t have anyone under-performing. Ipswich will be another big test for us and then we have those three away trips. The aim will firstly be to get back to winning ways at home and then try and pick up as much as we can away.”
Craig Cook, who played a major role in Elite League Belle Vue’s stunning win over King’s Lynn on Monday, has agreed to deputise for Stead.
The popular skipper has had surgery on his broken arm and leg and says he has good strength in both – and doctors are pleased with how the surgery went.
Stead hasn’t ruled out returning this season but is expected to miss May and June with a July comeback the earliest target at this stage.
“Obviously we all want to see Steady back with us,” said Lee.
“But we need him fully fit, we don’t want to see him risk further damage. The lad is keen!”
SHEFFIELD: Craig Cook, Andre Compton, Ashley Birks, Jason Garrity, Ty Proctor, Josh Bates, Arthur Sissis.
IPSWICH: Danny King, Ritchie Hawkins, Gino Manzares R/R, Cameron Heeps, Rohan Tungate, Stefan Nielsen, Nico Covatti.