SHEFFIELD have been rocked by the news captain Simon Stead has broken his leg.
The Tigers’ No.1 is in hospital in King’s Lynn after crashing at the nearby Norfolk Arena in a practice session and suffering a badly broken leg.
He requires an operation and faces a lengthy period on the sidelines.
The shattering blow comes just after Tigers had bolstered their side with the signing of Adam Roynon and they are now likely to have to go back into the rider market.
Co-promoter David Hoggart said: “This is obviously dreadful news for us as a club, but first and foremost we want to send our good wishes to Simon, who has been brilliant for us this season.
“It’s far too early to speculate on his likely time out of action, but I understand the leg is broken in three places so it may well be a complex recovery process.
“We’ll be looking at the implications for the team as a matter of urgency.
Roynon, meanwhile, races at Owlerton tonight – but ironically he will be in the colours of visitors Dudley in the Ozchem Trophy (7.45pm), which is staged in memory of popular duo Darren and Sharon Boocock.
Roynon lines up in the No.1 position for the West Midlands side before linking up with Sheffield for their League Cup tie with Newcastle next Thursday.
He said: “It’ll be good for me to have a competitive meeting at Owlerton before some vital fixtures coming up and it’ll be good to have some proper laps against good riders.”
For Sheffield it provides an opportunity for the likes of Joe Haines, Damien Koppe and Facundo Albin to gain confidence ahead of some crucial matches for the Tigers, while Dudley bring a side packed with exciting young British talent.
Admission has been reduced to £12 adults, £10 concessions, £5 for children aged 12-15 and under 12s free.
SHEFFIELD: Joe Haines, Benji Compton, Jake Knight, Damien Koppe, Facundo Albin, Matt Williamson, TBC.
DUDLEY: Adam Roynon, Gareth Isherwood, Paul Starke, Dan Greenwood, Lewis Blackbird, Max Clegg, Nathan Greaves.