Sheffield boss Simon Stead has vowed the team will “fight on” despite injury worries ahead of their biggest meeting of the season at Owlerton tonight (7.30).
Tigers moved into the Championship final at Glasgow despite a horror show of three big crashes for Josh Grajczonek, Josh Bates and Lasse Bjerre. That means they go into tonight against Ipswich with fitness doubts over all three key men.
Stead said: “It’s a massive 24 hours for the club. We are trying to assess the injuries and how that will change the team. It’s not ideal obviously but we fight on. We can’t let this knock the stuffing out of us, we need to re-group.
“We’ve come this far and worked hard all season, now we must take this opportunity to win the Championship after coming so close a year ago. It’s a proud time for the club to have made our second successive Championship final. But we don’t want to taste defeat again.
“I would like to say it wasn’t anything to do with track preparation at Glasgow. At this time of the year the tracks hold more moisture and our boys were caught out by it. That’s the problem of racing when it gets colder at night.”
Bates and Grajczonek managed to spin round and rodeo off their bikes in carbon copy incidents on the third turn of Ashfield during Sheffield’s three-point semi-final defeat on Tuesday. Bjerre crashed into the second bend fence while leading Heat 12 with the closely-following Alfie Bowtell having nowhere to go but clip him.
Bates avoided broken bones while Bjerre is having injuries to his left arm assessed by medics. Top man No1 Grajczonek looks set to return for the clashes with the Witches - with the second leg in Suffolk on Saturday.
Stead added: “We’ve got docs looking at Josh G and Lasse. Then we’ll have to make very quick decisions on how to put out the best team possible.
“We know that Josh Bates is a doubt, now it’s down to whether we use guests and in which position, depending on the availability of Lasse. I think Josh G is going to be fit which is a massive boost for all of us. It maybe a bit of a juggling act to see how we assemble the team.”
He added: But we’ll get the strongest team out there for our fans. We need a big support and we are going all out to win the Championship.”
SHEFFIELD: Josh Grajczonek, Todd Kurtz, Lasse Bjerre, Josh Bates, Kyle Howarth, Jan Graversen, Georgie Wood.
IPSWICH: Danny King, Justin Sedgmen R/R, Cameron Heeps, Kyle Newman, Rory Schlein, Nathan Greaves, Alfie Bowtell.