Bridger is fit to race after double Peterborough crash

Lewis Bridger
Lewis Bridger

The Arlington Arena will host a crucial clash in the chase for an Elite League play-off spot as the Eastbourne Eagles face rivals Kings Lynn on Friday night.

The Eagles just have the edge over their opponents in the table, sitting in fourth place - six points ahead of Kings Lynn in fifth.

There’s no doubt that both teams will be desperate for maximum points from their evening meet, with the visitors hoping to catch Eastbourne, who in turn will be looking to put daylight between themselves and the rest of the pack.

Team manager Trevor Geer said, “We cannot afford to slip up on Friday night. It’s crucial we keep winning all of our home matches and, hopefully, we can do that.

“It’s all about keeping hold of fourth place at the moment. It will be tough but we’re confident.”

The Eagles have only lost two meets at home so far this season, one of which was to Elite League leaders, the Poole Pirates.

That sparkling form continued when they hosted Birmingham on Saturday night, romping to an impressive 54-38 victory.

However, they were promptly brought back to Earth just two days later when the same outcome was inflicted upon them by the Peterborough Panthers, who stormed to a 58-36 victory on their home turf on Monday night.

Geer said, “I was really pleased with the performance on Saturday night. Birmingham are a very good side but we won it with flying colours.

“I think on Monday night, Peterborough took us by surprise a little bit. They’ve got a good side there but they haven’t been performing that well lately, so I was pretty confident of picking up some points there.

“However, they must have had a talking to and came out really strong.”

Lewis Bridger, who hit the shale twice during the meet with the Panthers and eventually withdrew with a hand injury, is confident of being fit for the Kings Lynn fixture, despite his shoulder and hand still feeling a bit sore during the week.

The riders will have a quick turnaround ahead of their match on Friday after facing a tough meet away at Swindon just the night before.

Geer said, “I think the lads will be alright. They’re used to picking themselves up, brushing themselves down and getting on with it.

“Swindon are an exceptional side and it’s the likes of them and Poole who would be in the play-offs with us, so we need to be able to deal with them.

“It will be tough but hopefully we can seal fourth place and surprise a few people when we get there.”

Simon Gustafsson and Denis Gizatullin are both expected to return to the line-up on Friday night after missing the meet with Swindon on Thursday due to international duties.

LEWIS BRIDGER was forced to withdraw at Peterborough on Monday with a hand injury after two crashes