Two teams who suffered opening day defeats lock horns at Ashmore Park, with Wednesfield starting as favourites to get their season going with a win against Ipswich this weekend.
Exclusions cost the aces dearly last time out at Horspath, and this is something management duo Wayne Aris and Roger Ellis will look to rectify as number one priority if they are to mount a serious title challenge.
Paul Heard will make his home debut in the Elite League and can look forward to another productive match following is top scoring performance last time out, as will Craig Marchant following his winter transfer from Leicester. Both Ben Mould and Lee Aris will be looking for a bigger points return this time out following the defeat at Horspath.
It's more than likely Chris Jewkes, Mark Griffiths, Ricki Johnson and Matt Haddock will be in the line up, and all will know they need to up their game following their trip to Horspath.
Ipswich will know they have had probably the hardest opening to the season in the entire league and must take a positive approach to Ashmore Park.
Both Adam Peck and Chris Osborne should make their Ipswich debuts which will provide some real quality to the Ipswich attack; last time out against Poole the eagles only had race winners from 4 of the 18 heats.
Jamie Chittock had an excellent match against Poole and will look to carry that form on consistently; certainly a visit to Wednesfield will be a massive test for the Ipswich top scorer last time out.
Likewise Charlie Rumbold put in a five star performance against Poole and the youngster looks like the real deal, therefore he should keep his place in the top six despite two big guns coming into the eagle’s line up. Rumbold has bags of raw speed and pace, but his biggest asset seems to be his confidence, he really didn't seem phased by the likes of Szymanski, Harris and co on match day one.
Richard Williamson, Lewis Roberts and Lewis Osborne all look in good condition so should feature in the eagles line up too.
As an additional bonus Paul Heard will be defending his Elite League Match Race title against a selected rider from Ipswich.
After an excellent performance on the road its back to fortress Baiter Park for Poole, where they should maintain there unbeaten start against the new look Birmingham side.
There should be enough strength in the Poole squad to not require their Polish star Marcin Szymanski, with Leyton Glover pushing hard for a top six place following an excellent performance at Ipswich. Expect Harris and Gluchowski to lead the Poole attack, with both Tom Reed and Tom Colling likely to come into the starting line up.
Last season Poole were undefeated at home, and the management will know that another unbeaten campaign on their own shale will put Poole in a superb position come the end of the season.
Birmingham make their longest journey of the season and know they face a potential baptism of fire against the champions elect. That said in Chris Timms they posses their own super star, who is not only able to lower the colours of the world’s best riders, but is also one of the most unselfish riders in the Elite League and always looking to see his partner home.
New signing Chris Parish scored well against Sheffield and will be looking forward to racing the fast Poole track. Now Konrad Pientak is available Phil Widdas will look to race him at every opportunity, he adds some real quality to the Birmingham attack. Nathan Groves scored excellently last week in the regional league, as did Myke Grimes, and both will be looking to continue this form into Sunday.
Expect Mark Winwood, Nicky Evans, Kieron Jones and Joe Kemp to be in contention for a place in the starting line up on Sunday as Birmingham will be looking to spring a surprise and get their season up and running. Scott Millward is likely to miss the trip to Poole following surgery on a hand injury.
Without a doubt this fixture is the pick of the weekend’s Elite League action, with both teams enjoying good wins on the opening day of the season. It would be a brave man to say who is going to win this match when two teams packed full of the sports best riders do battle over 18 pulsating heats.
Sheffield look like serious contenders for the title this season and will know a win Sunday against Horspath would be a real statement to the other clubs in the league.
Expect a few changes to the stars line up this weekend, with potential first appearances of the season in the Elite League for both Jono Birks and Radek Handke. Both riders are world class and realistically if any team is going to lower the colours of Horspath this season they must have their strongest riders available.
Expect Andy Angell, Adam Stephenson, Jamie Ball, Matt Smith, Pawel Idziorek, Ryan Hoyland and Dan Chambers to be in the stars line up too. You can see from the riders mentioned above that Sheffield have a quality team from 1-8, the key for the South Yorkshire side on Sunday is to put together 18 consistent heats with no mistakes.
The machine that is Horspath made their intentions for the season clear vs Wednesfield when they blew arguably the pre season title favourites away with a pretty much faultless team display.
It’s more than likely the same 10 riders will line up for Horspath when they make the visit to Graves on Sunday: Boaler, Rudman, Nowacki, Harrold, Bates, Carmichael, Hutt, Thaw, Payne and Lee Clarke.