Stars defend a narrow lead

King's Lynn team boss Rob Lyon wants a Premier Trophy semi-final spot and local bragging rights against Mildenhall at West Row tomorrow (3.30pm).

King's Lynn team boss Rob Lyon wants a Premier Trophy semi-final spot and local bragging rights against Mildenhall at West Row tomorrow (3.30pm).

The Stars defend a slender 48-42 lead after a feisty midweek derby at the Norfolk Arena, but Lyon is convinced his men can turn the tables to clinch a last-four place and dump the Fen Tigers out of this season's competition.

“Our intention is to win - that's the main focus,” said Lyon. “Obviously bonus points come into the equation and if we take all three then we qualify. We don't have to worry about anyone else or rely on other teams to do us a favour.

“The Premier Trophy is like a 100m sprint, you've got to get results quickly whereas the league is more of a marathon where you get a chance to plan ahead.


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“I've thought long and hard about all the formulas and worst case scenarios and whatever happens at Mildenhall it's still in our own hands. It could even come down to points difference like last year when we lost out to Exeter. I can't see that happening again, though, because we've had two massive home wins.

“If it goes against us at Mildenhall we have two final away meetings and I'm confident of winning matches anywhere with this team.”

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Lyon's optimism extends to a West Row track familiar only to Trevor Harding, Chris Mills and new recruit John Oliver.

“There's been a lot made of that, but it's not a view I subscribe to,” insisted Lyon.

“In our first Premier League season we had riders who hadn't raced at particular tracks. It's certainly not a tricky track. Yes, it's small, but it doesn't ride like Rye House. Our boys are experienced enough to cope.”

Lyon believes the Stars could do worse than emulate Mildenhall's gutsy effort on visiting shale at the Norfolk Arena.

“It was refreshing to see how they attacked the track,” he said.

“You don't often see that from an away team. It helps they had a fair bit of local track knowledge and it took us a few heats to get dialled in. I'd anticipated a 15 to 20-point win, but the injuries to Millsy and Troy didn't help.”

Batchelor (mild concussion) and Mills (shoulder) have both been passed fit, with the former Oxford man poised to forge a new bottom-end partnership alongside Aussie teenager Oliver in place of Simon Lambert.

“It's a positive move both for Simon and the club,” said Lyon.

“It wasn't necessarily what Simon was scoring, but the way he was scoring points. He has the chance now to build up his confidence again and come back a stronger and better rider later in the season.

“John is an aggressive, 100pc racer who wants the step up to the Premier League and is confident he can do a job.”

Fen Tigers: 1 Jason Lyons, 2 James Brundle, 3 Shaun Tacey, 4 Jason King, 5 Daniel King, 6 Barry Burchatt, 7 Jon Armstrong.

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

Mildenhall have moved quickly to fill the void left by the tragic death of Brian Snowie by appointing Neil Day as the club's new commercial manager.

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