Hammers unchanged for Coventry visit

LAKESIDE Hammers move away from their traditional home Friday race day for this Saturday's vital Sky Sports Elite League match against fellow play-off hopefuls the Coventry Bees.

LAKESIDE Hammers move away from their traditional home Friday race day for this Saturday's vital Sky Sports Elite League match against fellow play-off hopefuls the Coventry Bees.

With four teams qualifying for the end of season play-offs the top two positions already appear to be claimed by the Swindon Robins and the Wolverhampton Wolves.

The Robins currently lead the table on 66 points with the Wolves just one point behind them on 65 points. There is then an 18 point gap to third position, which is held by the Hammers on 47 points.

Saturday's opponents, the Coventry Bees, are also on 47 points but the Hammers have a superior race points difference. Then, just one point behind them, on 46 points, are the Peterborough Panthers.

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The Hammers and the Panthers have just three remaining matches while the Bees have four.

The Hammers hold a slight advantage over their two closest opponents as their three remaining matches are all at home whereas the Bees have two matches at home plus two away and the Panthers' remaining three matches are all away from home.

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Given the closeness of these three teams, who are all vying for the two final two play-off places, Saturday's match against the Bees takes on great significance. It is vital, therefore, that the Hammers claim the win to improve their chances of reaching the play-offs, which ultimately will decide the destination of this season's League Championship title.

Coventry have announced their line-up for this important match showing they are at full strength and include British GP rider Chris Harris, Team GB World Cup rider Edward Kennett, British riders Ben Barker and Oliver Allen, Australian international Rory Schlein, young New Zealander Ricky Wells and Filip Sitera from the Czech Republic in their side.

The Lakeside Hammers promotion have decided to keep their side the same as the one that roared to a superb 27 point victory over the Belle Vue Aces last Friday.

This will allow the promotion further time to decide on just what to do when their Australian Adam Shields returns to fitness after breaking a collarbone in this year's World Cup while competing for his country.

Therefore, young Scot William Lawson will once again be brought in as a guest at reserve as the Hammers doubling up riders, Robert Mear and Phil Morris, both have Premier League commitments, which take priority.

The Scot performed well against the Aces, winning his opening race, and impressed the Hammers promotion with his performance. He is able to race for the Hammers in this match as it takes place on Saturday. If the fixture against the Bees had taken place on the normal Friday race night the rules would not have permitted him to ride.

The 'Kids for a Quid' scheme will be in operation for this meeting whereby children between the ages of six and 16 will be able to witness top class speedway for just �1. Children under six will be allowed entry free of charge.

The action will get underway at 7.45pm with the parade of riders. A big crowd is expected for this match with many Bees supporters likely to make the trip down from the Midlands.

Supporters are, therefore, requested to arrive at the Arena-Essex Raceway as early as possible to avoid potential queues at the pay booths. The gates will open at 6pm and there are large free car parking areas at the raceway.

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