Crucial week ahead for the Fen Tigers, starting at Dudley and then moving on to the Storm on Friday . . . season-defining week?

Brendan Johnson

Brendan Johnson - Credit: Archant

The coming seven days could well go a long way to defining the Fen Tigers season and at the very least whether their youthful and exciting septet are likely to challenge for honours in 2014.

With an important National League fixture at Coventry sandwiched between their KO Cup tie against old adversaries the Cradley Heathens this is a big week for the Fen Tigers and their supporters.

The action starts with a visit to Monmore Green tomorrow night where the Fen Tigers will be looking to keep the well touted and powerful Heathens side within sight in the first leg of their KO Cup tie. Without No 1 Joe Jacobs, the Fen Tigers have drafted in 2012 & 13 Fen Tiger hero Stefan Nielsen.

Still remembered ‘fondly’ by Heathen supporters for his part in the dramatic Heat 15 of the National League Play-Off Final that saw the Fen Tigers take victory on the way to the Grand Slam in 2012, he is sure of a warm welcome. The new averages see Jack Kingston and Brendan Johnson drop to reserve whilst the two Connors (Coles & Mountain) move into the main body. Cradley will be missing Tom Perry following a collar bone injury sustained guesting for Ipswich on Bank Holiday Monday and also Matt Williamson who is with his Premier League side Scunthorpe. Rider replacement covers the absence of Perry whilst Michael Neale is drafted in to cover for Williamson.

Following Tuesday’s action it is fast forward to Friday and another away trip, this time to Brandon Stadium the home of the Coventry Storm. The Fen Tigers have already felt the power of ‘the Storm’ when they came away from West Row in April with three league points following a fully deserved 48-42 victory.

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The Fen Tigers are out for revenge though and hope that the return of Joe Jacobs from his Premier & Elite League endeavours will be the difference between victory and defeat! Jacobs was No 1 for the Storm last season and the Fen Tigers will also be looking to Brendan Johnson at reserve to score some important points, another rider who represented the Storm last season and who put in some big performances there early in 2013. Tuesday’s guest for Jacobs, Stefan Nielsen will now be looking to inflict defeat on the Fen Tigers as he leads a Storm side featuring ex-Fen Tiger Ryan Terry-Daley, James Sarjeant and the fast improving Oliver Greenwood.

Club Chairman Kevin Jolly was in no doubt of the importance of this week’s meetings: “This really is a big week for the riders and the club as a whole, with everything building towards a massive meeting on Sunday at West Row. We know we are capable of winning at Cradley with our line-up but if not we are confident we can keep things close enough for us to finish the job on Sunday.

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“There is always a little needle and banter when we meet Cradley but these meetings are what it is all about for me, the big hitters going head to head, we respect them and they respect us but both sides are desperate to win.

“In between there is the little matter of putting things right at Coventry on Friday night, we will be looking to get back the points they took from us recently and with Joe Jacobs back there is no reason why we cannot. The interim average changes may well also be in our favour and we go there looking for all four points.”

Tuesday’s line ups –

Cradley - 1. Paul Starke (C) 9.93 2. Tom Perry R/R 6.30 3. Max Clegg 6.27 4. Nathan Greaves 4.00 5. Steve Worrall 7.09 6. Michael Neale (G) 3.00 7. Danny Phillips 3.00

Mildenhall Fen Tigers – 1. Stefan Nielsen 8.71 (Guest for Joe Jacobs riding Premier League) 2. Connor Coles 6.54 3. Dan Halsey 7.43 © 4. Connor Mountain 5.75 5. Josh Bates 7.49 6.Brendan Johnson 4.84 7. Jack Kingston 5.55

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