Speedway: Potters aim to fine tune preparations in county cup
STOKE Eazy Rider Potters continue their preparations for the new National League season tonight when they travel to Dudley Heathens for the first leg of the Staffordshire Cup (7.30pm).
The Potters opened up with a 46-44 win over Isle Of Wight in the Wightlink Trophy at the weekend, and are targeting a strong showing against their divisional rivals.
"We have done well there in the past and it would be good for us to put up a decent performance again ahead of the second leg later this month," said Potters team manager Malcolm Vasey.
"Dudley are a team many people tip for honours, so it will be an early-season test. The teams are fairly evenly balanced, but we have our first meeting out of the way so maybe that'll give us a slight advantage."
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Dudley, who race at Wolverhampton's Monmore Green Stadium, have retained the heart of last season's side.
Ashley Morris, Tom Perry, Adam Roynon and Darryl Ritchings return from the 2011 side which scooped the National League Fours at Loomer Road, along with newcomers Byron Bekker, James White-Williams and Daniel Greenwood.
Stoke's Jaimie Pickard – a Wolverhampton asset – is keen to impress in front of his Elite League promotion.
"I practiced at Wolverhampton over the close season and go there most weeks, so I've a good idea of what to expect," he said.
"There is no such thing as a challenge match to a rider. Once those tapes go up it is business as usual. We don't care what meeting it is – we just want to win races.
"I made a couple of changes on Saturday and finished strongly, so the hope is that I can carry on like that.
"I'm happy at Stoke, but I need more than just National League outings.
"Hopefully if we have a good season as a team and I'm playing my part it will lead to other things."
Oliver Greenwood, who created a good impression with six points on Saturday, will again step in for the absent Rhys Naylor, while Dan Berwick is hoping to get off the mark after a blank weekend.
"We only picked the motor up on Saturday and I felt I got quicker and rode the track better the more the meeting went on," said Berwick. "I definitely think I can make the grade here with Stoke."
DUDLEY: A Roynon, J White-Williams, A Morris, B Bekker, T Perry, D Greenwood, D Ritchings.
STOKE: A Birks, J Pickard, T Atkin, O Greenwood, R Worrall, D Berwick, B Reade.