Young gun Jack Smith is all set for his Tigers debut tonight.
Smith, son of legendary Belle Vue rider Andy, has been snapped up for one of the reserve spots and he takes his place in the side against Newcastle at Owlerton (7.30).
He’s joined in the lower end of the side by 21-year-old James Shanes who impressed in guest appearances for the club last year and also makes his debut tonight.
And Smith, 19, hopes they can pick the brains of some of their returning riders to ensure they are in the mix to defend their crown.
“I’m looking forward to the challenge with Sheffield, and I hope it can be a good season for me and the team,” Smith said.
“Obviously it is a club who have been successful, not just last year but the last few years they’ve always been towards the top. They had to make changes, but there are only three new riders from last year, so I think things are looking good.
“I’d say me and James (Shanes) might be a bit stronger than they were last year at reserve, then they’ve brought Charles (Wright) in who is a top rider.
“The other five guys are used to riding here and know the fastest way around the track, so I’m sure they’ll help the rest of us get up to speed and we should get off to a strong start.
“I think we’ve got as good a chance as anyone when it comes to trying to win the league and defend our title, so we’ll see how it goes.
“It’s a really strong, competitive league this year and a lot will happen through the season, but if we all ride as well as we know we can then I think we should be up there again.”
Charles Wright is the third Tigers star on debut tonight and they will use the rider replacement facility for back injury victim Josh Bates and spread his four programmed outings around the team.
Newcastle have a solid 1-7 with Ludvig Lindgren leading the way alongside seasoned campaigner Stuart Robson. Matthew Wethers has also ended his self imposed exile from the sport to join the Diamonds.
SHEFFIELD: Kyle Howarth, Lasse Bjerre, Charles Wright, Todd Kurtz, James Shanes, Jack Smith, Josh Bates R/R.
NEWCASTLE: Ludvig Lindgren, Stuart Robson, Lewis Rose, Matthew Wethers, Tero Aarnio, Carl Wilkinson, Ashley Morris.