Sheffield boss Simon Stead has sympathised with struggling racer Jan Graversen ahead of tonight’s Knockout Cup clash with Redcar at Owlerton (7.30).
The Dane, who helped Tigers win the Championship title last season, was brought in as cover for Josh Bates who remains sidelined with a back injury.
But thrown into the main body of the team, it’s been tough for Graversen who has managed just five points in four fixtures.
Stead hopes he can keep plugging away in the meantime though as they look to build up a healthy lead tonight to take into tomorrow’s second leg on Teesside.
“It was always going to be a tough ask of Jan coming in cold when everyone else had already been racing for a month or so,” Stead said.
“And not only that but he was coming into the team in a very difficult position in the main body.
“Nobody can stand here and say he hasn’t struggled, but it’s certainly not through the want of trying.
“Even last week in the win over Workington, he started off with two last places, I took him out of his third ride but then he went out and got us a vital third place point over Mason Campton who’d been flying all night for them.
“He looked a lot more at it in that race and we know there’s a good speedway rider in there.
“Like I’ve said I just think it’s been a real tough ask for him starting later than everyone else and being thrown into the deep end.
“I just hope people don’t remember Jan for this tough spell he’s gone through this time around.
“I hope they still remember him for the key role he played when we brought him in last season and he helped us win our first league title in 15 years.
“It’s not an ideal situation we know, especially knowing that Josh isn’t going to be back for a while yet, but we just have to take it one meeting at a time.
“We have to assess the situation on a weekly basis and any decisions made going forward will be made in the best interests of Sheffield Speedway.”
SHEFFIELD: Kyle Howarth, Todd Kurtz, Jan Graversen, Lasse Bjerre, Charles Wright, Jack Smith, James Shanes.
REDCAR: Ben Barker, Tobias Busch R/R, Jonas B Andersen, Matej Kus, Thomas Jorgensen, Mikkel B Andersen, Jordan Stewart.