SHEFFIELD boss David Hoggart has singled out former Tiger Josh Auty as the man to beat as Premier League champions Scunthorpe visit Owlerton tonight (7.45pm).
Auty spent three successful years with Sheffield before heading back to Scunthorpe last season, and he returns as the Scorpions’ number one.
Hoggart believes the threat of Auty means tonight’s League Cup clash will be as close as ever.
He said: “Josh Auty and Ashley Birks are clearly Scunthorpe’s danger men but more specifically I think Auty is the man to beat.
“He got some practice here last week with Birmingham and he did well, so I’m expecting some big battles with him and our own number one Steady. Keeping Josh and Ashley quiet will be a big task, we know that.”
Tigers began their competitive season encouragingly by gaining a point at Leicester on Saturday but a lack of lower end scoring power scuppered their chances of a shock away win.
Hoggart knows the team’s more inexperienced riders are going to have to step up if they are to topple the champions.
He said: “Damien (Koppe) flipped his bike in his first race last week and that affected him a bit, so he knows he’s got to put that behind him this week.
“Facu Albin has been working on his machines all week with the help of Richard Hall and he should have everything nicely set up now, and last week he looked very promising. Young Jake Knight just needs some confidence and some self belief, and that’ll come with time.
“Everyone needs to contribute, Scunthorpe have another good side this year and they’ll want to come and turn us over early on. It’s our job to make sure that doesn’t happen.”
SHEFFIELD: Simon Stead, Facundo Albin, Joe Haines, Richard Hall, Ricky Wells, Damien Koppe, Jake Knight.
SCUNTHORPE: Josh Auty, Thomas Jorgensen, Michael Palm Toft, Ashley Birks, David Howe, Josh Bates, Ryan Douglas.