Kevin Jolly insists the Mildenhall Fen Tigers are no forlorn hope in Sunday’s National League Fours despite being without Stefan Nielsen.
Reigning Fours champions Mildenhall have been forced to draft Nathan Stoneman into their squad to replace Nielsen, who is on Premier League duty with the Somerset Rebels at Glasgow.
Although the loss of Brandon-based Nielsen is a major setback to the team, co-promoter Jolly is far from despondent about the situation.
“It is a shame that we haven’t got Stefan, but the boys are up for it and will be going there giving it their best to win,” he said. “We aren’t dead and buried yet.
“Last year we managed to win the competition without Cameron Heeps and we will be telling the boys they can do it without Stefan. They all have the ability it is just a case of getting that fire back and believing in themselves.”
While Stoneman’s recent form tempers enthusiasm, Jolly has made it clear that the 16-year-old — who has recently moved up to number two in the team — will be given all the support possible on the day to get him firing on all cylinders.
“The track at Stoke will be slick and it will be crucial to make the start,” said Jolly. “I know Nathan has been a bit low on confidence of late, but if he can make the starts he is more than capable of beating the best of them.
“We will be supporting him all the way as it may well be that the points he picks up are the ones that get us through to the final.”
With the draw having been unkind to Mildenhall — pitting them against the Isle of Wight Islanders, Coventry Storm and Norfolk neighbours the King’s Lynn Young Stars — Jolly feels things could have played into the hands of their arch rivals the Dudley Heathens.
“Despite the difficult draw have been given the boys are there to win it, but it does look like it has protected Dudley,” said Jolly.“Dudley will definitely be the team to beat as they will be at full strength unlike most of the other sides in the competition.
“However, in speedway you can never say never and if things go in our favour then you can be guaranteed we will take advantage of it. If we can win the Fours it will set us up for the rest of the season.”
Tapes go up at Stoke on Sunday at 3.30pm.
For a full report of Mildenhall’s National League clash with the Isle of Wight Islanders on
Tuesday, turn to Page 67