Bandits bid to edge closer to League Cup semis

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BERWICK Bandits can move a step closer to a place in the semi-final of the League Cup if they enjoy a successful weekend against Edinburgh Monarchs this weekend.

Berwick are unbeaten at home in the League Cup and an away win tonight see them challenging for a semi-final place. Ian Rae’s men will be aiming to collect “at least four table points” from the fixtures.

Both teams will deploy a guest rider to cover for a missing reserve, with the regulations requiring the incoming replacements to be drawn from the lower National League.

Bandits’ heat leaders Ricky Ashworth, Seb Alden and Lee Complin are in fine form and will certainly test the top Monarchs, who can’t afford many slip-ups.

Lubos Tomicek has also been going well for the Bandits, and former Newcastle No 1 Jason King must fancy his chances at reserve in the circumstances.

Adam McKinna replaces Alex Edberg who is away in a Swedish Under-21 meeting.

“We will have to go without Alex Edberg, who has to be at home on U-21 duty in Sweden,” explained Bandits’ promoter Dennis McCleary. “Bearing in mind his experience at both tracks, manager Ian Rae is going to bring in Adam McKinna – a hugely contributive influence in our colours at Newcastle back in March - to cover for Alex.

“His partner at reserve will be Jason King, who started the season after everyone else, and is only now catching up to race pace. As his scoring improves – as it will -- having him at reserve should be pretty handy!”

The Monarchs will also be riding short-handed with Derek Sneddon on the side-lines after a crash at the Glasgow circuit on Sunday left him with a broken collar-bone. The Edinburgh side deploys the rider-replacement regulation to cover his races.

The same accident sidelined Edinburgh reserve Charles Wright, but no news had escaped from the capital club last night as to his availability – or his chosen understudy - at either match.

“The Monarchs always give us a hard time, especially up at their own place,” reflected Berwick director George Hepburn. “But this time, we are aiming to grab at least one League Cup point on Friday, and follow that with a full three of the things, come Saturday night!”

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Team line-ups for both Friday and Saturday:

BERWICK: 1. Ricky Ashworth (England), 2. Lubos Tomicek (Czech Republic), 3. Lee Complin, capt. (England), 4. David Bellego (France), 5. Seb Alden (Sweden), 6. Adam McKinna (Scotland), 7. Jason King (England).

EDINBURGH: 1. Craig Cook (England), 2. Rider-replacement for Derek Sneddon, 3. Theo Pijper (Netherlands), 4. Matthew Wethers, capt. (Australia), 5. Andrew Tully (Scotland), 6.Charles Wright (England) or AN Other (guest), 7. Mickey Dyer (Australia).