King’s Lynn braced for derby battle
King's Lynn team boss Rob Lyon urges the Stars to hold their nerve to clinch an Elite League play-off spot ahead of tonight's Norfolk Arena derby against rivals Peterborough. (7.45pm)
Lyon is targeting two home wins from their remaining Saddlebow league fixtures against the Panthers and Birmingham to clinch a top four qualifying berth to cap a successful debut Elite campaign.
Fourth-placed Lynn are currently three points clear of Belle Vue but Lyon is looking upwards rather than down to a chasing pack which features Peterborough and Coventry. The Panthers and the reigning champions traded Bank Holiday home wins to keep the pressure on Lynn ahead of tonight's Norfolk Arena derby and tomorrow's East of England Showground return.
'At Wolverhampton I said to the boys we needed six points. We had 40 and we got another one there,' said Lyon. 'I think we'll need a minimum 46. If we get 47, that would be us pretty much there - which would mean two home wins by more than six and then not worrying about having to get anything on the road. By the same token, if you beat Peterborough it takes points off them. If we pick up less than two maximum home wins then we'll possibly have to get something on the road. It's a difficult scenario to predict because lots of things can happen over the next week. Our main objective is to get two home wins and we'll have a clear idea of where we are. It's ours to lose.'
Lynn received a double injury boost ahead of the pending derby double header with skipper Olly Allen passed fit after a niggling shoulder problem and reserve Filip Sitera also available following his recent broken collarbone injury.
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'Filip has had a couple of meetings in the Czech Republic and he has come through those okay so he should be fine and Olly is clear, 100%, the scans have shown no lasting damage,' said Lyon. 'He is well up for it. He wants to get into those play-offs. Let's hope they come through this first meeting unscathed, chip in with some vital points, and we can go to Peterborough with a lot of confidence.'
Lynn hammered the Panthers 55-41 on their previous Saddlebow visit last month but the visitors need league points to maintain their fading play-off ambitions after a Bank Holiday blank at Coventry.
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'It's really away where you have to pick up points to edge into the top four,' said Lyon. 'In lots of ways that was a good set of results for us but we also need to do our own job. If we do, then we should be there, but they are going to be tough meetings. We have to be confident because our home form has been solid all the way through the season, bar a couple of performances.
'We'd be well happy with that sort of result again, but I'd settle for a win by seven. If all the boys are on it I have no reason to suspect we won't get what we need if the lads can focus on the job in hand.'
• Gates open 6.00pm. Parade 7.30pm; first race 7.45pm.
• Admission prices: Adults �15, concessions �12, junior (aged 12 to 15 years) �5 with free entry for children aged 11 and under.
• Stars: 1 Kenneth Bjerre, 2 Lasse Bjerre, 3 Olly Allen, 4 Mads Korneliussen, 5 Niels-Kristian Iversen, 6 Fillip Sitera, 7 Kozza Smith.
• Panthers: 1 Nicki Pedersen, 2 Norbert Kosciuch, 3 Krzystof Buckowski, 4 Linus Sundstrom, 5 Troy Batchelor, 6 Dakota North, 7 Kacper Gomolski.