Sheffield Tigers, with a stinging rebuke from club owner Neil Machin still ringing in their ears, look to bounce back after their agonising exit from the Premier Knock Out Cup competition.
The Owlerton side host Premier League rivals Rye House Rockets tonight (7.45pm) still smarting over their two point aggregate Cup defeat against Workington. Inspired by the brilliance of Shane Parker, Tigers staged a late fightback but they were left frustratingly short in a thrilling last heat decider.
As a result Machin accused some of his riders of a lack of preparation and is demanding an improvement in professionalism ahead of tonight’s vital league clash.
He said: “Shane was superb at Workington but I feel certain members of the team owe an apology to our supporters.
“I really do hope they learn from it and show a better attitude in terms of preparation. I’m not going to question their effort, that’s for other people, but you can win or lose meetings in the workshop.
“We have some very important meetings in the second phase of the Premier League and we need our riders to be properly prepared and ready to go.”
Josh Auty awaits the all-clear from a doctor before taking his place in the Tigers line-up after suffering suspected concussion and whiplash injuries in the home leg against Workington.
Teams: Sheffield Tigers: Ricky Ashworth 8.29, Hugh Skidmore 5.76, Josh Auty 8.11, Emiliano Sanchez 6.07, Shane Parker 8.08, Simon Lambert 4.77, Ashley Birks 3.47.
Rye House Silver Ski Rockets: Jordan Frampton 8.20, James Brundle 5.14, Richie Hawkins 5.25, Chris Neath 7.64, Steve Boxall 6.88 Luke Bowen 4.71 Tyson Barber (Nelson) 4.55.
Meanwhile entertainment is the key word for Tigers boss Eric Boocock as the bid for league honours gathers pace.
Despite leading the title race for long spells, he admits his side are outsiders as Glasgow have plenty of meetings in hand and are clear favourites to finish as champions.
Boocock said: “All I ask of my riders is that they give it everything they’ve got and provide entertainment for the supporters because, at the end of the day, I have a very strong belief that we’re in the entertainment industry.
“Fans pay their money and want to be entertained, that’s something I was very conscious of when I was a rider and now as a promoter and team manager. We’re still up there challenging and giving it everything.”