King’s Lynn make ‘horrible decision’ to remove Topinka

King's Lynn co-promoter Jonathan Chapman last night admitted replacing Tomas Topinka for the club's Elite League play-off push was a 'horrible decision' to make.

Former rider Kozza Smith takes over from the long-serving club captain in a doubling up role at reserve alongside Sam Masters.

Topinka had struggled in the top flight this season and Chapman revealed things finally came to a head in the midweek 48-44 home defeat to play-off rivals Coventry.

'It is horrible for us to have to make this decision and for Tomas as well because he is a rider who has been so consistent for the last 15 years of his career,' said Chapman.

'We thought he would be a trump card for us in the Elite League and we persisted in it but the Coventry meeting proved to be the wrong call. We learn and we move forward.

'The Elite League is tough and Tomas has been on the back foot and some of these younger guys really want it a lot and you can see that in how they ride. We could have made this move earlier, but I think there would have been that nagging doubt in our minds if we had done the right thing or not. Hopefully we have done it at the right time for the play-offs. We're not saying it is the end for Tomas forever, but at the minute we have to plan for the future without him.'

Chapman believes Smith's arrival alongside Masters and Filip Sitera bolsters Lynn's bottom end for the final push.

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'It's great to have Kozza on board, he's a young enthusiastic rider who has had a great season so far,' he said. 'We hope he is going to play a vital part of the team gaining a place in the play-offs, I would like to thank Belle Vue for releasing him in time to make his debut on Monday against Wolves.

'Filip is a guy who perhaps doesn't always score the most amount of points, but I don't think people realise his worth. He is a tough rider who gets in the mix and stops maybe opposition riders getting more points or holds them up for a few laps to let his team-mate get away.'

Skipper Olly Allen (shoulder) was a key injury absentee for the Coventry defeat, but Chapman hopes he is fit enough to lead the troops at Wolverhampton on Monday.

'Let's wait and see. I'm hoping he will ride,' said Chapman.

'That will give us a better indication for the rest of the season because rider replacement using Mads (Korneliussen) and Lasse (Bjerre), plus the reserves, is tough – as you saw in the Coventry meeting it didn't really work in our favour.'