King's Lynn racer in fitness battle
Paddy DavittKing's Lynn racer Joe Haines faces a fitness test on his latest knee injury ahead of Wednesday's Premier League clash against Stoke at the Norfolk ArenaPaddy Davitt
King's Lynn racer Joe Haines faces a fitness test on his latest knee injury ahead of Wednesday's Premier League clash against Stoke at the Norfolk Arena (7.45pm).
Haines crashed in his first ride of the club's Premier League KO Cup success at Glasgow on Sunday before being ruled out of the remainder of the meeting on medical advice.
Stars' team boss Rob Lyon confirmed today the champions will employ the rider replacement facility if Haines fails to recover from his latest setback following a recent spell out with a broken collarbone.
'Last week we showed just how good we can be with a full team and completely run riot over Berwick at home,' said Lyon. 'The fact is rider replacement weakens the team but we are used to covering for injuries so we will roll up our sleeves and just get on with it.'
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Stoke track Aussie guest Corey Gathercole for long term absentee Jason Bunyan. The Potters' captain was targeting a comeback from knee ligament damage at the Norfolk Arena but missed Stoke's weekend 52-38 KO Cup home defeat to Workington.
'I thought I could cut the recovery time down, but it looks as though the medical people were right,' he said. 'I had thought I would be right for this weekend, and I was so close to making it, but 90 per cent is not good enough at this level.
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'It would be no use to Stoke if I was to ride and not complete the meeting or be less than my usual self - and neither would it be any good to me to come back too early and ending up aggravating the knee and being out for a further spell. In the meantime, I'm doing everything possible to get the nod to ride again. I'm still swimming and cycling, and I haven't had a problem for a couple of weeks now. Once it gets to the stage where I just get on with things without even thinking about the injury I will know that I've cracked it, and I'm nearly there.'
The visitors have drafted in Lee Smart and Adam Roynon after early season struggles. Smart was instrumental in Birmingham's surprise win at Lynn two seasons ago when he posted 19 points. Roynon also recently appeared in the British semi-final staged at Lynn. American Ricky Wells is poised for his Saddlebow debut but Taylor Poole is ruled out through injury so Lynn asset Simon Lambert earns a guest booking at reserve.
Admission Prices: Adults �13, concessions �10, juniors (aged 12 to 15) �5 and free entry for children aged 11 and under.
Stars: 1 Tomas Topinka, 2 Joe Haines, 3 Kozza Smith, 4 Linus Eklof, 5 Kevin Doolan, 6 Darren Mallett, 7 Casper Wortmann.
Potters: 1 Cory Gathercole, 2 r/r, 3 Ricky Wells, 4 Adam Roynon, 5 Hynek Stichauer, 6 Lee Smart, 7 Simon Lambert.
Read Kozza Smith's exclusive column only on edp24.co.uk/sport