Tru Plant Tigers co-owner issues warning ahead of Belle Vue trip

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Sheffield co-owner Damien Bates is backing his riders to return to form when they go head-to-head with rivals Belle Vue at Owlerton tomorrow.

The Tru Plant Tigers suffered their first defeat of the season last week - but still edged through to the Premiership League Cup Final despite that 46-44 loss to Wolverhampton.

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Their focus turns back to league action now though and they'll be aiming to close the gap on the men from Manchester in what promises to be a thriller of a meeting.

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Adam Ellis on his way to a heat win last time out against Belle Vue. Photo: Charlotte Flanigan.Adam Ellis on his way to a heat win last time out against Belle Vue. Photo: Charlotte Flanigan.
Adam Ellis on his way to a heat win last time out against Belle Vue. Photo: Charlotte Flanigan.

Tigers have already beaten the Aces twice this season - but Bates is expecting a much tougher contest than when they raced to a 53-37 win last month.

"Belle Vue are a very different opposition to the one we faced here in the League Cup last month," Bates said.

"They’ve brought Matej Zagar in, we all know he’s a world-class rider, and he's given them some added power at their top end.

"Add him to Brady Kurtz, who's been flying so far this season, and Max Fricke, who won the latest Grand Prix in Poland, and they are a direct match for our top three I feel.

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"So we expect it to be tough, but we've got a team of fighters here this year and they'll be doing everything they can to get another win in the league.

"It’s always disappointing to lose, especially at home, but Wolves were the better team on the night last week. They probably should’ve won by a few more points and they probably should’ve gone through to the Premiership League Cup Final.

"Both Tobi (Musielak) and Adam (Ellis) had an off night, which is unlike them and won’t happen too often, so there’s no need to panic yet."

Meanwhile Sheffield boss Simon Stead admits he wasn't pleased with the circumstances that cost Sheffield the opening round of the Premiership Pairs.

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The Tigers were forced to settle for second when Adam Ellis crashed out of the Final following an incident with King's Lynn's Richard Lawson.

Stead said: "I wasn't too happy with what went on in the final - it left a sour taste in our mouths to be honest.

"I thought it was a bit naughty from Rich and while I understand the concept of team riding in that situation, I think the way he went about it was a bit dangerous.

"Understandably, Ad was really wound up by it but I'm just glad he was able to get up and walk away from it.

"In a series where the points add up, second place gave us eight points and it was a solid start. My only gripe is that we should've won and we should've had 12 points."