Speedway: Tigers star Josh Bates says thank you for support after undergoing back surgery

Josh Bates races inside Leicester's Cameron Heeps
Josh Bates races inside Leicester's Cameron Heeps
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Josh Bates is hopeful of missing only a handful of meetings at most after having surgery on his back.

He went under the knife on Friday afternoon and the operation was a success. He was sat up on Friday night and got to his feet on Saturday morning.

He may even be released from hospital today or tomorrow.

And on Saturday night he managed to walk unaided with doctors stunned by his progress.

Now Tigers co-owner Damien Bates, who is also his Uncle, is laying down a challenge to the double British Under-21 champion.

“We don’t start until the start of April,” said Bates. “We’re giving him every chance to get back for that, his motivation is to make the start of the season.

“When doctors say six weeks to speedway riders it normally means four!

“He’s determined to be back and he’s vowed to work hard at it to build up his strength.

“I understand totally all the comments from fans that it was foolish to go out sledging at high speed like that, but it’s happened and we have to all get behind the lad now.”

Josh himself is keen to thank fans for their messages of support since the news broke.

“I can’t believe the amount of good wishes I’ve been sent and it does mean a lot to me,” he said.

“I want to take this opportunity to thank everyone who has been in touch via social media and on text, it’s really appreciated by me.

“I’ve got a lot of determination and I’ll be back quicker than you think, I’m doing everything I can and I don’t want to let my clubs down.”

Tigers would be foolish not to put a temporary replacement on stand-by should Bates not make it but they are set to allow as much time as possible for the rider to keep his place open.

They open with a Championship Shield clash with Newcastle at Owlerton on Thursday April 5.

The opening Owlerton action is Simon Stead’s farewell meeting on Sunday March 25 with advance ticket sales going well for a meeting which features new World Champion Jason Doyle.