Speedway: Simon Stead says Sheffield Tigers are a Play-Off 'force to be reckoned with'

Sheffield boss Simon Stead says this season’s play-offs could be the most unpredictable in Premiership history.

Friday, 24th September 2021, 1:42 pm

Tigers will go into the title shootout fourth in the table, 16 points behind leaders Peterborough assuming they wrap up their regular campaign with a win against King’s Lynn at Owlerton tomorrow (5pm).

But that gap counts for nothing next week and Stead’s side have already upset the formbook recently with their impressive 51-39 win at Alwalton on Monday.

The Panthers hit back from that by slamming King’s Lynn 58-32 on Thursday to secure top spot in the table, but they have suffered a total of three home defeats along the way.

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And given that those came at the hands of Tigers and third-placed Belle Vue (twice), it came as little surprise that they elected to face Wolverhampton in the semi-finals even though the Monmore side finished just one point behind.

Stead said: “I’m actually quite pleased that we haven’t had to pick our opponents, because I’m not sure I would have known who to pick!

“The beauty of the play-offs this year is that we have four teams in there this year who could actually lose the home meeting and win the away meeting, and that keeps things very interesting indeed - it’s really good for the fans, but not so good for the team managers!

“It’s something we’re all looking forward to, and if we continue to ride as we did on Monday then we will be a force to be reckoned with.”

Stead is urging his side to keep up their momentum when they host bottom side King’s Lynn tomorrow in their final match before Thursday’s semi-final showdown with Belle Vue.

Skipper Kyle Howarth misses the meeting as he is racing in the Championship for Leicester, with that league having priority on Sundays.

Tigers will operate rider replacement, with James Wright again standing in for the injured Stefan Nielsen at reserve.

Stead said: “We can’t take anything for granted, and regardless of where King’s Lynn have finished in the league they have got riders in their team who ride Sheffield very well.

“If we go into the meeting thinking the job is already done, then we could be upset, and that would halt the momentum that we managed to gain on Monday.”