Reigning National League champions Belle Vue visit neighbours Stoke on Saturday, May 5 where they hope to extend their lead at the top of the table by putting in another big performance.
But they make the journey without popular No.2 Paul Bowen following confirmation that he may have fractured the dislocated thumb he picked up on Wednesday, with R/R in effect for him.
The Cool Running Colts are also without No.3 Kyle Bickley, who is on Championship duty with Workington at Berwick’s Shielfield Park, with Coventry’s Danny Phillips guesting in his place.
The A.R. Richards Potters field a vastly experienced side with Max Clegg, Tony Atkin and ex-Colt Rob Shuttleworth making up the bulk of their strength but they have yet to secure their first win.
They struggled to make an impression on Birmingham when they visited Loomer Road last month, and team boss Graham Goodwin is hoping his side can strike an equally powerful blow.
He said: “We’ll be taking nothing for granted against the Stoke boys. They have a strong top end and if their middle and bottom order rise to the occasion they could be very tricky customers.
“Our boys are hungry for more points on the road and Wednesday night’s win has injected a fresh confidence booster into the team so if we can mimic that at Loomer Road we’re in with a shout.
“It’s a shame we won’t have Paul with us. It was a tricky injury he suffered and there may be a small hairline fracture which he needs to have checked out once the swelling has gone down.
“But he’ll be there at the track supporting the lads. We possibly have the advantage of strength in depth but you cannot write off the Potters. They have plenty to prove so it will be a tough night.”
The Rentruck Aces begin the defence of their KOC silverware on Monday, May 7 when the Wolverhampton Wolves visit the NSS for the first time this season, tapes up at 12:00pm.
Tickets are available at www.bellevueaces.co and at the stadium box office on race day.
STOKE V BELLE VUE – 7:00PM – SATURDAY MAY 5
Belle Vue ‘Cool Running’ Colts
Tom Perry, Paul Bowen R/R, Kyle Bickley, Joe Lawlor, Jack Smith (C), Ben Woodhull, Kean Dicken; TM: Steve Williams & Graham Goodwin
Stoke ‘A.R. Richards’ Potters
Max Clegg, Paul Burnett, Tony Atkin (C), Adam Extance, Rob Shuttleworth, Joe Alcock, William O’Keefe; TM: Adam Isherwood
Words: Hayley Bromley
Image: Ian Charles