Ricky Wells can drive Sheffield Tigers to surprise win over Newcastle Diamonds

Sheffield boss Damien Bates
Sheffield boss Damien Bates

Sheffield co-promoter Damien Bates believes he’s booked the perfect guest in American Ricky Wells for tonight’s play-off quarter-final against Newcastle at Owlerton (7.30.)

Wells was popular with Tigers’ supporters during his 2012/13 spell with the club and has been a solid performer as an opposition rider since.

With club captain Simon Stead sidelined and Jason Garrity out for the season Bates still questions whether he can suffer any further bad luck but is confident of a strong first leg tonight.

He said: “Being without your one and five, two of the best heat-leaders in the league...they’re impossible to replace realistically.

“Having said that, I don’t think there’s many better guests than Ricky Wells around Owlerton and we know how much he enjoys racing that Sheffield race jacket. We need him to go out in heat one, get a result and set the tone.

“We need a double figure lead from the first leg to keep us in it.

“Sunday’s not going to be ideal, trust me, but nothing is over until the fat lady sings and we’re going into these play-offs with a fresh approach.

“I’m confident if we can all have our gating boots on, especially tonight, we can cause an upset and make the semi-finals.

“We’ve had silverware in mind from day one at Sheffield and despite everything that’s been thrown at us, we’re still determined to go out there and give it our all to make sure we achieve our goals for the season.”

SHEFFIELD: Ricky Wells, Jason Garrity R/R, Kyle Howarth, Josh Bates, Dimitri Berge, Arthur Sissis, Nathan Greaves, Jack Parkinson-Blackburn.

NEWCASTLE: Steve Worrall, Victor Palovaara, Matej Kus, Ludvig Lindgren, Robert Lambert, Ashley Morris, Danny Phillips.