IT’S Cup week for the Lakeside Hammers with Birmingham the opponents in back to back meetings away on Thursday in the Midlands and home on Friday at the Arena-Essex Raceway.
After a three week lay off it’s a chance for the team to get their season back on track after a lacklustre start to the season but they will head into action without Australian International Adam Shields, who was injured representing his country against Great Britain at the Essex track last Friday.
Shields has remained in Basildon Hospital over the weekend awaiting specialist treatment to a knee injury and faces a lay off from racing although, at the moment, it is not yet known for how long that will be.
With Shields absent the team will operate the ‘Rider Replacement’ facility for the Knockout Cup ties but the Club will make a decision on a possible replacement or other changes once the full diagnosis is made and after the change to riding order has been assessed.
The Hammers Co Promoter Jon Cook explained: “Obviously Adam’s crash is a blow to the team and it put something of a downer for us and our fans on the Great Britain win at our Raceway in last Friday’s International against Australia. Knowing Adam it’s no surprise that he is already looking at how quickly he can return but there’s no point in speculating until he has been seen by a specialist, which should be later today. We have all been bitterly disappointed with the season so far and although the team signed off with a win in our last match we said at the time that we would continue to look at where we could improve things, and that starts with changing the team order as we target a stong July and August to break through into a Play Off position and be the in form team come September.”
The Hammers line up for both the Cup meetings against Birmingham will be: 1.Lee Richardson , 2. Rider Replacement for Adam Shields (all riders eligible for an additional ride), 3. Kauko Nieminen, 4. Peter Ljung, 5. Piotr Swiderski, 6. Robert Mear, 7. Stuart Robson.
The Club have also confirmed that the Ipswich No.1 Kevin Doolan has been added to the Hammers squad to join Stuart Robson in the doubling up position while Kyle Legault recovers from injury and finds a new team after his release by Newport.
Jon Cook commented on this change by stating: “We have called in ‘Kev’ as we have a number of clashes with Robbo’s Premier League commitments up and coming and we need Kyle fit and in the Premier League. However, I would stress that Kyle was brought into the team in the winter as he is a rider we think has a big future at the Club and we have no intention of changing that view. We are keeping faith with the rest of the team for the Cup and it’s in their hands.”