Eagles take a break from table-topping league action to host Wolves in KO Cup

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EASTBOURNE Eagles take a break from their chase for league glory to embark on their KO Cup campaign tomorrow (Saturday).

They face Wolverhampton at Arlington (7.30pm) with the second leg of the tie on July 25.

The Sussex club have great memories of last year’s cup competition. They managed to get to the final and only went down to defeat in the final at the death.

Wolves are always doughty opponents, though, with matches between the two clubs generally close.

The teams for tomorrow are:

n EASTBOURNE: Bjarne Pedersen, rider replacement for Cameron Woodward, Simon Gustafsson, Joonas Kylmakorpi, Lewis Bridger, Lukas Dryml, Timo Lahti.

n WOLVES: Fredrik Lindgren, Ty Proctor, Ludvig Lindgren, Tai Woffinden, Peter Karlsson, Tyson Burmeister, Ricky Wells.

Eagles’ No. 7 Lahti is just about in the “last chance saloon” for a team place.

He made an immediate impact when he was drafted into the team, winning his first race in Elite League speedway at Lakeside on Good Friday.

However, later in the meeting he was injured and since then his form has been poor.

A move to a Jawa engine for the last home match didn’t do the trick as he ran a series of last places – in fact, he has nine on the bounce at Arlington.

And Eagles team manager Trevor Geer has said: “He has got to improve, otherwise he will not be here.

“We cannot afford to carry him all season. We won’t throw the league away for the sake of keeping him here.”

Wolves team manager Peter Adams wants his team to keep the scores close to give them a realistic chance in the second leg.

He said: “This is a tough one for us, there is no doubt about that, because they are such a good side on their own track.

“But we have nothing to fear. We have some good riders in our team who are more than capable of winning races around Arlington and we will be going there to keep the scores as close as possible.”

Changes to the Eagles’ fixture list have been announced this week.

On Monday (June 20) they will be at Coventry in a meeting being broadcast by Sky. There is now no home meeting at Arlington July 2 with the next home match after tomorrow on Monday, July 18, with Coventry the visitors, in another Sky TV broadcast meeting.

The Eagles go to Swindon on July 21.

Swindon are at Arlington on Saturday, July 30 in the Elite League A fixture with the B fixture now scheduled for Sunday, August 28.

The match on July 30 has a 4pm start time to ensure it does not clash with that evening’s Grand Prix which is broadcast live on television.

Lewis Bridger has not made the Great Britain team for the world cup match at King’s Lynn on Monday July 11 when the hosts taken on world champions Poland, Russian and the Czech Republic.

Two former Eagles are in the team – Scott Nicholls and Edward Kennett.

Bridger is on “stand-by” as a squad member with three other riders, including former Eagle Olly Allen.

It is no surprise that Bridger hasn’t made the team. When the Eagles were at King’s Lynn earlier in the season he had a dismal night.

The Bexhill-based rider fell in his first ride and afterwards admitted the set-up on his bike was not right for the fast and sweeping Norfolk track.