Lyon braced for an Owlerton onslaught
King’s Lynn Stars will be aiming to finish an amazing season in style over the course of the next two evenings. PADDY DAVITT sets the scene for the Premier League play-off final
King's Lynn team boss Rob Lyon is braced for an 'Owlerton onslaught' in tonight's Premier League play-off final, first leg at Sheffield.
Lynn finished nine points clear of their nearest challengers during the regular campaign but Lyon accepts six months of hard graft now boils down to a tense double header.
Lyon took his cup kings to the Speedway Riders' Association awards bash earlier this week for a spot of R and R ahead of the season finale.
Lynn's team boss insists his men are refreshed, fighting fit, and determined to set up a thrilling Saddlebow second leg tomorrow.
"Bring it on," he said. "It's crazy in one way the season comes down to this. We know what's expected and the boys are up for it. From the Sheffield end you sense they feel they need a big advantage on their own track. We are so good at King's Lynn it would be very difficult for them to get a result.
"We know what the deal is. It'll be 'hard straights and hard first corners'. We always go out with that mindset and these meetings will be no different."
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Lyon believes 'big night' experience could prove vital ahead of Lynn's fifth final in the last 12 months.
"Experience definitely helps," he said. "Some of the Sheffield boys will not have ridden in these sort of meetings. It can bring extra pressure - particularly for the younger guys. We have that in our favour, but you still must focus on the job in hand. You have to ride the meeting rather than the occasion.
"I'm not taking anything from our previous meetings, even though we beat them to win the Premier Trophy and know we can ride that track. Sheffield finished second in the table and deserve respect."
Tigers' skipper Andre Compton missed Sheffield's Premier Trophy aggregate defeat but returns to lead his side after intensive physio on a shoulder problem.
"I'm sure that will give them a boost," said Lyon. "I feel we have riders in our team who are capable of beating him at Sheffield as well as at our place. It's no different in that sense to how we treated Magnus Zetterstrom in the KO Cup final. Really, I always say it's about what we do rather than worrying about the opposition."
In-form reserve Chris Mills has recovered from his heavy smash during the champion of champions' showdown against Peterborough.
The Panthers edged out Lynn in a last heat decider reminiscent of an enthralling Elite League play-off aggregate success over Reading.
Lyon hopes lightening does not strike twice.
"That might be good for the crowd, but not my nerves," he said. "If it went down to final race decider at our place either Sheffield have hammered us in the first leg or rode the Arena like they've never done before.
"For me, the earlier we can finish it the better. King's Lynn supporters are so enthusiastic. They desperately want to win the club's first league title and we will do everything we can to bring it to them."
Tigers: 1 Ricky Ashworth, 2 Ben Wilson, 3 Kyle Legault, 4 Emilano Sanchez, 5 Andre Compton, 6 Mark Thompson, 7 Tai Woffinden.
Stars: 1 Daniel Nermark, 2 Trevor Harding, 3 Troy Batchelor, 4 Kevin Doolan, 5 Tomas Topinka, 6 Chris Mills, 7 John Oliver.