Speedway: Sheffield Tigers boss Damien Bates throws backing behind teenage star Jack Parkinson-Blackburn

Sheffield Tigers (Speedway). Jack Parkinson-Blackburn,  pictured. Picture: Marie Caley NSST Speedway MC 10
Sheffield Tigers (Speedway). Jack Parkinson-Blackburn, pictured. Picture: Marie Caley NSST Speedway MC 10
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Sheffield co-owner Damien Bates insists he is prepared to stand by teenage racer Jack Parkinson-Blackburn – despite strong links with Poole’s James Shanes.

Bates had pencilled Shanes in to replace Parkinson-Blackburn, pictured, who stood down from his team spot last week due to a crisis of confidence.

But he insists any talk of trying to sign him as a permanent replacement for Parkinson-Blackburn is off the mark.

“I’m not looking to replace Jack, in fact we will be talking to him again very soon to establish his thoughts going forward,” said Bates.

“I said last week I didn’t want it to be the end for Jack in Sheffield colours. We’ve invested in him with time, machinery and transport and we still believe in him.

“It’s very much down to Jack to let us know what he wants to do – but naturally, if he doesn’t feel ready to come back into the team then we would have to look at our options and James could be one of them.

“We will just take things week by week and see what develops but we need to sort out Jack’s situation long term and by that I mean for the rest of this season.

“For anyone to suggest we have already made an approach to sign James Shanes they are wrong. We won’t do anything where that is concerned until we know what’s happening with Jack.

“Whatever is decided must be in the best interests of Sheffield Speedway and Jack himself, my job is to protect the interests of this club and Jack is an asset of ours. We want to work closely with him.”

Tigers have drafted in Nathan Stoneman from Kent Kings as a replacement for Parkinson-Blackburn in Sunday’s trip to Scunthorpe.

Meanwhile last night’s meeting with Newcastle at Owlerton was washed out after heavy overnight rain.

Said Bates: “We took an early decision to avoid as much inconvenience as possible.”