Elite Shield success is not the ‘be-all and end-all’ for King’s Lynn Stars chief Rob Lyon

Action from when Poole met Lynn last season. Picture: DENIS MURPHY

Action from when Poole met Lynn last season. Picture: DENIS MURPHY - Credit: Denis Murphy

Rob Lyon is refusing to place too much importance on the outcome of the Elite League's curtain-raiser.

Stars boss Rob Lyon. Picture: Ian Burt

Stars boss Rob Lyon. Picture: Ian Burt - Credit: Ian Burt

Champions Poole Pirates host King's Lynn Stars, who finished second in the table at the end of the regular season, in the first leg of the Shield this evening. The return will be held at the Adrian Flux Arena in Norfolk just 24 hours later as the pair – who met in the play-off semi-finals – look to signal a statement of championship-winning intent to their rivals – and each other.

However, team boss Lyon knows only too well how little a sensational start can count for come the business end of the campaign.

Lynn's chief, who saw his side lead the way almost all season, said: 'It is purely a warm-up. You can go and win the thing, be impressive and win home and away, and think 'wow this is good'. It means nothing when it comes to the play-offs. All it gives you is a positive start to the season.

'I'm sure nobody would turn it down but it's not the be-all and end-all. It is literally a couple of friendly challenge matches if you like to open the season. But there is a shield involved, pride's at stake, so the boys will want to win it.'

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The Pirates went on to record back-to-back top-flight title successes after edging out Lynn during a last-four showdown which will remembered more for the farcical nature of the three failed attempts at staging the second leg in Dorset than it will for the racing.

But while Lynn have kept six of their seven-man line-up from last term, the Pirates have only resigned Maciej Janowski and Kyle Newman.

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Poole owner Matt Ford said: 'There is no doubt that Lynn will be a tough side to crack. They have been able to avoid any wholesale changes from the team that were pacesetters throughout last season and the fact that injuries cost them in the final run-in will serve to make them that little more determined, of that I am sure.

'But to be honest I am looking forward to seeing how our side fares against such a strong looking team so early in the season as it will provide us with a good test of our abilities. I will stress again that we need to give our newcomers time to settle in.'

- For more on the Stars' hopes for 2015, buy today's paper (Wednesday, March 25) for a special eight-page speedway supplement.

- Video filmed and edited by photographer Ian Burt.

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