Final blow for Topinka

King's Lynn Stars skipper Tomas Topinka is out of tonight's Premier League KO Cup final, first leg against Somerset after breaking a bone in his left hand.

King's Lynn Stars skipper Tomas Topinka is out of tonight's Premier League KO Cup final, first leg against Somerset after breaking a bone in his left hand.

Topinka withdrew from Wednesday's Pride of the East meeting at the Norfolk Arena following a heavy tumble in his third ride trying to avoid Mildenhall's Jason King.

The Czech is targeting next week's scheduled second leg for a swift return after visiting a specialist.

"It's just one of those things that happen in speedway," said Stars' co-promoter Jonathan Chapman. "He's cracked a bone in his little finger but hopefully we can get him back in time for the home leg."

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'Zorro's' last-single figure return for the Rebels came in the clubs' washed out Premier Trophy encounter - seven months ago.

"He's not unbeatable by any stretch," said Stars' team boss Rob Lyon. "The guy is a good rider - one of the best in this league - but Kevin Doolan passed him from the back earlier in the season at Somerset. We've proved many times we can put on one hell of a show and turn teams over away from home when they don't expect it. I imagine most people will have Somerset as underdogs, but they deserve respect and it'll be two tough meetings."

Somerset's Glen Cunningham is fit after a recent viral infection but Glen Phillips (elbow) is a doubt after crashing in the Rebels' league play-off exit at Rye House.

"Pound for pound Somerset is a strong side," said Lyon. "Perhaps they are not as formidable as we are at home. To be fair we've really been concentrating on the play-offs so this meeting was on the back burner.

"I think we've gone something like nine unbeaten on the trot now which is a tremendous achievement. To retain our cup would be great. Everyone knows what a big part Ashley Jones played in this competition last season and he has been a massive motivating factor for us all year."

Lyon wants no repeat of May's league meeting when the visitors succumbed to a late Somerset surge.

"We lost the last three or four races badly after being only something like two points adrift after 12 heats," reflected Lyon on the 51-39 reverse. "It was one of our worst results if you take away the Sheffield challenge match and Isle of Wight when we were without Daniel (Nermark). I would still be comfortable with having to pull back that sort of deficit at home although the way we've been going I'd be disappointed.

"The aim is to win. I know a few fans are making the trip and that will spur the boys on. They are focussed and ready to go because this is a vital stage of the season. Psychologically we are on a roll and I feel we've a fantastic chance to finish the job off."

Lyon is backing Pride of the East runner-up Nermark to fire on his return to the number one race jacket following the publication of revised averages.

"I've had a chat with Daniel and I'm confident he'll perform," said Lyon. "At the start of the year it was difficult because he was feeling his way into a new team. Riding at number four he's proved to be the rider everyone thought. We've still got the flexibility to change one or two positions around, but it's not a problem."

Lynn Stars: 1 Daniel Nermark, 2 Trevor Harding, 3 Troy Batchelor, 4 Kevin Doolan, 5 Chris Holder, 6 Chris Mills, 7 John Oliver.

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