BRUMMIES v KENT, PREVIEW

Tuesday September 05, 2017
BIRMINGHAM boss Graham Drury says nothing less than a win will do as his side prepare to host Kent in a huge Travel Plus National League fixture at Perry Barr on Wednesday (7.30).

The Surestop Brummies are clinging onto fourth spot – but Kent are breathing down their necks and are just one point and one place behind them in the table with three meetings in hand.

It’s certainly turning into a tense final few weeks in the third tier and Drury feels the Brummies’ play-off hopes hinge on Wednesday’s showdown.

“You hear the old cliché of ‘a must win fixture’ so many times in speedway – but that is 100 per cent the case in our instance on Wednesday,” Drury said.

“The league table is so tight and with the exception of Belle Vue and Eastbourne at the top, it looks as though it’s two teams from five for the final play-off places.

“Ourselves and Kent are right in the mix once again and with this being our last home fixture, it couldn’t have been scripted better.

“Since we joined the National League in 2015, we have had some classic meetings with Kent that often seem to go right down to the wire.

“We’ve certainly been their bogey side overall but they did manage to beat us at their place earlier this year.

“It’s always a fiercely contested fixture where both sets of riders put everything on the line and there’s usually plenty of incidents and plenty of excellent racing on the track too.

“We’re in a strange situation because with other teams having more meetings left than us our fate is out of our hands but in some respects, it is also very much in our hands at the same time.

“To give ourselves the best possible chance we need to go to Plymouth and win next week but firstly we need to win and ideally send Kent home empty handed as well.

“This could be another Perry Barr classic. We’ve got two strong teams going head-to-head with so much on the line and we need our supporters to be in fine voice for the lads once again.

“I can think of a number of nights over the past couple of years where we’ve been able to ramp up an electric atmosphere and it really does send a buzz around the place and our riders always seem to respond to it.

“So I urge the Birmingham fans to turn out in numbers, bring a relative or a friend and give the lads as much support as possible.”

The Brummies have received a major boost ahead of the fixture with the news that skipper Jack Parkinson-Blackburn has been passed fit and will line-up at No.1. The 16-year-old crashed out of the 250cc World Championships in the Czech Republic last week but has been undergoing daily physio sessions in a bid to return to full fitness.

Meanwhile, David Mason returns to the Birmingham septet, against his former club, after missing the last five fixtures, and Jamie Halder has been booked to guest at reserve fresh from a paid ten points contribution in Buxton’s shock 45-45 draw at Mildenhall on Sunday.

During the course of Wednesday’s meeting, a draw will also take place where one lucky season ticket holder will win a signed 2017 Birmingham racejacket.

BIRMINGHAM: Jack Parkinson-Blackburn, Layne Cupitt, David Mason, Tom Bacon, Liam Carr, Jamie Halder, Taylor Hampshire.

KENT: Luke Bowen, Anders Rowe, Ben Hopwood, Dan Greenwood, Jack Thomas, Bradley Andrews, George Hunter.

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