Stars warm up forplay-off challenge

King's Lynn gear up for their Elite League play-off tilt with tonight's regular season finale at dethroned champions Coventry (7.30pm).

Rob Lyon's men face a daunting two-legged semi-final against table-topping Poole next week with the Pirates visiting Saddlebow on Monday followed by a south coast return on September 26.

David Howe replaces newly-crowned Danish U21 champion Lasse Bjerre at Brandon with Sam Masters in for compatriot Kozza Smith who has been ruled out for the play-off push with a dislocated shoulder.

Lyon insists his side will relish a test against the powerful Pirates, who can track former Lynn ace and double World U21 champion Darcy Ward along with GP racer Chris Holder and the experienced Davey Watt.

'At the last home meeting I spoke to the team and they all said they wanted Poole to pick us in the semi-final,' he said. 'It probably sounds crazy but that is the sort of team we are, we want to beat the best and I know the lads will raise their game. You cannot deny Poole have a team which oozes quality and most of the riders enjoy riding the King's Lynn track, especially Chris Holder and Darcy Ward, but we beat them here earlier in the season and have had a lot more practice laps since then.

'Maybe Poole took into account our heavy defeat at their place earlier in the season but that was just an off night and I can't see that happening again.

'We have worked incredibly hard to get here and have beaten the odds so far, and all I can say is bring it on and let the Pirates underestimated us at their peril.'

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Poole lost out to Coventry in the final last season and Pirates chief Matt Ford admitted the decision to select Lynn as last four opponents was far from clear cut.

'It was a tough choice as King's Lynn have had an outstanding season,' he said. 'It was a difficult choice and one which we left right up to the last moment as the team really couldn't make up their minds. I have no doubt it will be a tough for both teams but I would hope that after being top of the league for most of the season we can make it to the final.'

In the other semi-final on Monday, Lakeside Hammers will host Eastbourne. King's Lynn's promotional team have announced plans to erect a large television screen for home fans to watch the action alongside their semi-final at Saddlebow.

'It's a big night for the club and speedway fans all over the country so we didn't want them missing out on the other match if they decide to come and watch our one live. It should help create an excellent atmosphere and with our admission prices remaining at the same incredibly price as they have been all season, it is a bargain night out for all speedway fans and they'd be crazy to miss it.'

A bumper crowd is expected at the Norfolk Arena on Monday for the semi-final, first leg and fans are asked to arrive as early as possible with gates opening at 5:30pm. The meeting is scheduled to start at 7:40pm. Tickets are also available in advance from the club's website

• Stars: 1 Kenneth Bjerre, 2 David Howe, 3 Olly Allen, 4 Mads Korneliussen, 5 Niels Iversen, 6 Fillip Sitera, 7 Sam Masters.