Eastbourne IT First Eagles have a mountain to climb at Arlington on Saturday (April 9) night if the results from Good Friday are anything to go by.
Kent Kings comprehensively won both legs of the Easter challenge match and they are back in Sussex seeking National League points.
In an unusual turn of events, many will regard Eastbourne as the underdogs on their own track – the first time it has certainly happened in the National League.
Both teams come to tapes have completed one league match this season.
The Eagles scored a surprise win at Coventry Storm on Easter Monday and Kent underlined their potential with a big win at the Rye House Raiders last Sunday.
Eastbourne lost their No 1 Kyle Hughes on Good Friday when he suffered a broken leg after crashing in his second ride. And it was confirmed on Wednesday that captain Richard Andrews could be out for weeks with a broken scaphoid after his crash at the Kent track on Good Friday evening.
He could be out for up to six or seven more weeks.
Attempts to sign a replacement have been unsuccessful but the Eagles have made a change down the order.
Ben Hopwood was released and Ellis Perks brought in – making room for a higher average No 1 to be signed. Up to now, those hopes have been dashed.
Eastbourne will use guest Dan Greenwood as Hughes’ replacement.
With Richie Andrews still not fit, the Eagles’ reserves of Charley Powell and Nick Phillips can expect a busy evening.
Between them, they will cover three of Andrews’ programmed rides with the other likely to go to Georgie Wood.
Club director Connor Dugard is predicting the Eagles will make a much better showing on Saturday than they did last time.
“The injury to Kyle was a big blow and we had some gremlins with the machines.
“The win at Coventry restored our confidence and the reserves have had more training time on our own track and I am sure will do much better this time around.
“For sure, it is going to be hard. Kent are clearly going to be one of the top teams in the National League this year. We are out to stop their hot run.”
He said the news that Andrews had been more seriously injured than thought was a real blow.
“Richie has had scans and they confirm he has broken his scaphoid. “It’s a bitter blow. Every time I come close to completing the puzzle another spanner gets thrown in the works.
“To lose Kyle and now to lose Richard, I’m pretty stuck.”
Teams: (in alphabetical order)Eagles: Dan Greenwood (Guest for Kyle Hughes) Rider Replacement (for Richard Andrews), Jake Knight, Georgie Wood, Ellis Perks, Charley Powell, Nick Phillips.
Kings: Luke Bowen, Luke Clifton, Danny Ayres, David Mason, James Shanes, Danno Verge, Jack Thomas.
IT First Eagles captain Richie Andrews has broken his scaphoid. He has had more scans following his Good Friday evening crash at Kent. Club director Connor Dugard said: “Richie has had scans and they confirm he has broken his scaphoid. “It’s a bitter blow for both the rider and the club. “To lose Kyle and now to lose Richard, I’m pretty stuck.” Dugard has been trying to bring in a new No 1 to replace Kyle Hughes who broke his leg in only his second ride for the club. Kyle could be out for a couple of months and Dugard has been working feverishly to re-jig the team. He commented: “Every time I come close to completing the puzzle, aother spanner gets thrown in the works.”