Belle Vue host Peterborough on Monday live on Eurosport 2 in the first leg of a Premiership Grand Final for which there can be few confident predictions.
The only guarantee is that after the second leg at the East of England Arena on Thursday, one club will be ending their long wait for a top-flight title.
The most fascinating aspect of the Final is that although the Panthers finished 16 points clear of the Aces in the regular league table, none of the four clashes between the teams over the course of the season ended in home victories.
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Peterborough’s two visits to Manchester saw them secure a 45-45 draw followed by a 47-43 win, whilst Belle Vue have pulled off big 50-40 and 52-38 away wins at Alwalton which will give them confidence whatever the outcome on Monday.
The Panthers have exercised their right to take the away leg first, and Danish racer Michael Palm Toft has again been declared fit to ride despite his hand injury.
Meanwhile, after an impressive guest appearance against Wolverhampton, Lewis Kerr once again steps in for the injured Ulrich Ostergaard.
Skipper Scott Nicholls is chasing a fourth top-league title having won with Ipswich way back in 1998 and then captained Coventry to the old Elite League in 2005 and 2007. He was also victorious at Championship level with Leicester in 2019.
Nicholls said: “Thursday was job done, and these meetings are all about getting to the Final – now is where the real work starts. Everything that’s happened now is done and forgotten, and it’s winner-takes-all in the Final.
“It’s going to be very tough. We know Belle Vue will be up for it and I think it should be an awesome contest.
But we’ve finished top of the league, we’ve shown we’ve been the best team over the season, so let’s see if we can finish it off.
The Aces appear to have come into form at just the right time of the season, and they put in a fine all-round team performance, especially in the away leg, to see off Sheffield despite the absence of Brady Kurtz with an elbow injury.
Rider-replacement will once again be in operation on Monday and the home side will look for another inspirational display from the super-talented Dan Bewley, who admits they weren’t unhappy with the outcome of the other semi-final.
He said: “I’ve had some good meetings at Peterborough this season, and I think the rest of the team are pretty happy to go back there.
“I think it’s going to be an interesting two legs. The guys have been strong all season and ever since Richie (Worrall) came back he’s been like another rider, he’s been awesome.
“Hopefully we can keep doing what we’re doing, and hopefully we can get gold – but we’re not getting too far ahead of ourselves, we’ve got two more meetings and we’re really looking forward to it.”
Join Abi Stephens and the team for the first leg of the Premiership Grand Final – Belle Vue v Peterborough is live on Eurosport 2 from 7.30pm on Monday.
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