Belle Vue and Sheffield both have plenty of incentive ahead of a big Roses clash live on Eurosport 2 this Monday.
The home side have already qualified for the Premiership play-offs but have lost their last three matches and are desperate to find some form ahead of the decisive fixtures later in the month.
Sheffield, meanwhile, are almost certain to finish in the top four themselves and could well confirm that at the National Speedway Stadium on Monday.
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The Tigers have re-grouped well from a mid-season blip and their play-off place will be secured if they avoid defeat in Manchester – or if King’s Lynn fail to win in their trip to leaders Wolverhampton at the same time.
All three meetings between Belle Vue and Sheffield so far this season have gone down to last-heat deciders, with the Tigers taking the honours 49-41 at Owlerton last Thursday thanks to a 5-1 in the final race.
Australian star Jack Holder was one of the match-winners with a 14-point haul from five rides, and on his last visit to Belle Vue back on the opening night of the season he piled up 19 points from seven rides in a narrow defeat for his side.
Holder and Adam Ellis – back on the track where he was crowned British champion three weeks ago – will again be expected to provide a major threat to the Aces on Monday.
Holder said: “It was good to get a win over Belle Vue as they’re such a great team and it’s a similar track, and hopefully now we can roll on to Monday on TV and get a win there also.
“It’s a track everyone likes, and we all love going there to such a purpose-built speedway track.
“There’s been many a good race around there – and hopefully there will be some more on Monday!”
Belle Vue have lost their last three matches by identical 49-41 scorelines, and have struggled to dominate at home throughout the season having suffered two defeats to Wolverhampton and one to Peterborough.
The Aces welcome back Jye Etheridge, who missed the trip to Sheffield due to injury, but Nikolaj Busk Jakobsen – himself a replacement for the injured Richie Worrall – is out, and Simon Lambert steps in to guest.
Sheffield, meanwhile, are without Stefan Nielsen who suffered rib and collarbone injuries in a crash at Birmingham last week.
Nielsen and Danyon Hume, both recent signings, have solidified the Tigers’ lower order in recent weeks, and Kyle Bickley comes in to guest for Nielsen on Monday.
All six Premiership teams are in action on the night with both contenders for top spot racing at home.
Wolverhampton are nine points ahead of Peterborough, but the Panthers have three matches in hand and visit Monmore in what could be a crunch televised fixture next Monday.
Both will expect to win this week with Wolves taking on bottom club King’s Lynn whilst Peterborough host Ipswich in a local derby which is the Witches’ final match of a disappointing season.
The significance of finishing the regular schedule on top is that the league leaders get to choose their opponents in the play-off semi-finals.
By David Rowe
Join Abi Stevens and the team for a packed evening of racing on Monday from 7.30pm on Eurosport 2, featuring live coverage of Belle Vue v Sheffield and regular updates from Peterborough v Ipswich.
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