Peterborough and Wolverhampton race to a finish live on Eurosport 2 on Monday in a play-off semi-final which could go right down to the wire.
The Panthers made the best of tough conditions at Monmore Green last week to secure a two-point advantage from the first leg which makes them favourites to book a place in the Premiership Grand Final.
But the league leaders have been left sweating on the fitness of Danish racer Michael Palm Toft, who suffered broken fingers in a Heat 3 crash during last week’s meeting.
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The in-form Panthers star took one more rider before withdrawing, and has not raced since the accident – missing out on his Championship club Redcar’s own play-off meeting on Sunday.
The home side will make a late call on the fitness of Palm Toft and have King’s Lynn’s Lewis Kerr on stand-by as a guest, but either way Wolves will still believe they have a chance against a six-man Peterborough team who again operate rider-replacement for Ulrich Ostergaard.
There’s also a switch in the home side’s team formation due to the October averages which see Hans Andersen, a key figure at reserve in recent weeks, moving up into the main body of the side whilst Bjarne Pedersen drops down.
And despite 51-39 and 49-41 home wins over Wolves this season, the Panthers have been keen to stress the tie is far from over as they look to reach a first Grand Final at this level since 2006.
Chris Harris starred at Monmore with a brilliant 17-point haul, and he is chasing a fifth top-league title in his glittering career.
Harris said: “Hopefully we can keep the momentum going for the return leg, but we can’t be complacent and under-estimate Wolves because we know they could come to our track and win.
“It was a good win for us last week, but they’ve got good riders and they can ride our track like everyone can.
“So we’ve still got to be on our game, it’s only half-time, and we’ll approach the second leg as if it’s still 0-0.”
Wolves, in contrast to their hosts, have no injury concerns and therefore name a full-strength line-up for the trip to Cambridgeshire, with Ryan Douglas a strong performer at Alwalton in the past and youngster Leon Flint having impressed on his last visit.
Skipper Rory Schlein is a former Panthers rider, and defeat on aggregate would make this the final meeting of his top-flight career as he retires at the end of the season.
Schlein said: “It’s not all doom and gloom. We had a chat afterwards and if anything, the pressure’s off us. It’s on Peterborough because everyone will be expecting them to win.
“Last time we went there, with four heats to go we were winning – so we know it’s do-able!”
Meanwhile, the second semi-final between Sheffield and Belle Vue gets underway at Owlerton on Monday after falling victim to the weather last week. The sides will race to a finish in Manchester on Thursday.
Join Abi Stephens and the team for all the action live from the East of England Arena on Eurosport 2 from 7.30pm on Monday, with full coverage of Peterborough v Wolverhampton and regular updates from Sheffield v Belle Vue, with expert analysis from Sam Ermolenko and Danny King.
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