Injury ravaged Berwick Bullets take on high-flying Oxford Chargers in penultimate National Development League match
Connor Coles and Greg Blair are the latest added to a list which began in the first heat of the campaign when Archie Freeman’s career as a Bullet lasted just a couple of laps before he suffered a broken leg.
Fellow winter recruit Josh Embleton also joined him in the season-ending injury category, and Mason Watson has missed meetings with concussion.
Coles broke his collarbone and arm following a Championship crash at the weekend while skipper Blair has been dogged by injury and health issues after a series of heavy tumbles.
Awaiting them is an Oxford side which trails Leicester by just a point following their win at Kent on Sunday afternoon. Significantly, the first part of the Iwade double header saw Kent Royals surprisingly beat Mildenhall by four points to make the likelihood of the Chargers and Leicester meeting in the top two title-deciding play-off even more likely.
Oxford Chargers have only lost twice in their 10 outings so far this season, both when talismanic number one Jordan Jenkins was missing with concussion –controversially when local medics refused to allow him to ride at Belle Vue despite guidance from the speedway authorities to the contrary and then 10 days later at Mildenhall.
Along with Ryan Kinsley and Henry Atkins, Jenkins forms a seriously strong three-pronged spearhead, Jenkins and Atkins recording a dramatic 5-1 in heat 15 to secure the two-point win at Shielfield in June.
Despite some decent Championship scores – and two guest appearances at Shielfield – Oxford decided to drop the Australian-born but British qualified Luke Killeen in favour of wonder-kid Ashton Boughen when the Leicester Cub turned 16 on Monday and became eligible to ride in the second tier.
With Birmingham, Scunthorpe, Poole and Glasgow all in action, the options of guests to replace Coles were virtually non-existent so team manager Kevin Little chooses to operate rider-replacement at number one with all the Bullets riders eligible for a ride.
Plymouth and Mildenhall teenager Trigger will guest for Blair at number three.