Sheffield Tigers need a big first leg lead in Newcastle quarter-final

Simon Stead: injuries
Simon Stead: injuries

Sheffield co-promoter Damien Bates says it’s important his side wipe the slate clean ahead of their big play-off quarter-final against Newcastle.

Tigers go into Thursday’s home tie on the back of only their second home defeat of the season against Somerset last week.

But they’ve also found the going tough against Newcastle although Bates is keen to see a big improvement.

“They’ve shown earlier in the year that they can ride our place well and we’ve lost up there quite heavily twice,” Bates said.

“So we expect it to be a tough challenge once again but no previous results matter.

“The slate is wiped clean and every rider in every team starts again. “Having the home leg first will hopefully play into our hands and we know we need all of our riders at the top of their game.

“We need to take a good lead to Newcastle. We need to make sure we’re at it from the off and making some good starts is going to be very important over the two legs.

“It’s the stage of the season when riders start becoming a bit drained, but it’s part of our job to pick them back up again and make sure they’re in the right frame of mind.

“We only seem to have had bad luck all year and being without Jason (Garrity) and Simon (Stead) for chunks of the season has been one of the reasons we have never quite kicked on as we thought we would.

“But anything can happen over these next few weeks and hopefully we start with a good home meeting against Newcastle!”