Swindon are back on the hunt for silverware when they host King’s Lynn on Monday (7.30pm) in the first leg of their KO Cup semi-final.
The CFS Filtration Robins need to build an advantage to take to the Adrian Flux Arena on September 17 – but that will be far from easy against an in-form Stars side.
The visitors have topped the Premiership table ahead of the play-offs after a stunning run since late June, which has seen them lost just two of their last 16 matches.
Some encouragement for the Robins could be the fact that when King’s Lynn have lost over that period, it has been by a wide margin – they were beaten 61-29 at both Poole and Somerset.
Previous meetings this season at the Abbey saw the Robins win 48-42 in mid-April, and then by a more useful 52-38 scoreline two months later, although the Stars did have absences on that occasion.
In fact, the aggregate scoreline between the clubs over their four league matches in 2018 is 180-180 – so they could prove evenly-matched in this semi-final.
Robins, however, know they need an improvement on recent form and after a below-par display over the six races which were possible in Thursday’s abandoned clash with Belle Vue, boss Alun Rossiter has juggled his riding order.
Adam Ellis switches to No.2 to partner Troy Batchelor, whilst David Bellego and Tobiasz Musielak now form the middle-order combination.
King’s Lynn are led by British Champion Robert Lambert and Danish Champion Niels-Kristian Iversen – and although third heat-leader Ty Proctor is on the sidelines with a chest injury, the rider-replacement facility allows Iversen to take an extra ride.
The Stars have strength in depth with Michael Palm Toft at reserve, whilst Erik Riss has been a successful late-season signing after Lewis Kerr suffered long-term injury.
Rossiter said: “It’s going to be a really tough semi-final – King’s Lynn are a very strong side, and they didn’t top the league table for no reason.
“But I still firmly believe that our side is more than a match for anyone. We just need everyone clicking on the same night, and if we do that then we can score heavily.
“Obviously we have to be much better than Thursday. I don’t know what was wrong, everyone was up for it beforehand, but certainly we have to be faster from the gate.
“I don’t set targets but clearly we need to be looking to take a lead into the second leg.”
Supporters are reminded that their re-admission tickets from Thursday will be valid for this meeting – or for the re-arrangement of the Belle Vue match, or for the Cup Final should the Robins make it through.
Admission prices on production of the tickets will be £11 adults, £8 concessions and £3 for children.
SWINDON: Troy Batchelor, Adam Ellis, David Bellego, Tobiasz Musielak, Nick Morris, Zach Wajtknecht, Jack Smith.
KING’S LYNN: Robert Lambert, Erik Riss, Ty Proctor R/R, Thomas Jorgensen, Niels-Kristian Iversen, Michael Palm Toft, Simon Lambert.