Wightlink Warriors have been rocked by the sudden exit of Nathan Greaves.
Greaves has accepted an offer from Championship side Ipswich, who also race on Thursday nights – therefore ruling him out of any more action on the Isle of Wight.
The unexpected news came as a big shock for Warriors co-promoters Barry Bishop and Martin Widman.
Lakeside Hammers arrive at the Andrew Younie Smallbrook Stadium tomorrow night (7pm).
And the Warriors have drafted in Liam Carr as a guest rider to fill the void left by Greaves.
Bishop said: ‘This news has come right out of the blue and puts us in a difficult position ahead of our meeting tomorrow.
‘Neither Martin Widman nor I had been given any indication this move was being considered.
‘Nathan top-scored for us last week and appeared to be happy to be here.
‘However, these things happen and with all things Warrior, we will use this development as a stepping stone to improvement and will re-assess our team make-up over the coming days and act to better the squad.
‘We wish Nathan well at his new club and in the meantime we have invited Liam Carr to guest for us this week.’
Gates open at 5.30pm for tomorrow’s meeting, with the rider parade at 6.45pm and the first race starting promptly at 7pm.
The Hammers, based at the Arena Essex Raceway in Thurrock, joined the National League this season, stepping down from the Elite League following many years in the top flight.
Despite earning a place in last year’s play-offs, the Hammers management spent the winter agonising over how best to sustain the sport in the Essex area.
And after much deliberation, the National League option was preferred – an understandable outcome given the proximity of Kent, Eastbourne and Mildenhall and the prospect of exciting derbies.
Wily co-promoter Jon Cook has persuaded former Great Britain international and TV pundit Kelvin Tatum to stay on as team manager.
And with the experienced Ben Morley leading the team – supported by the up and coming Zach Wajtknecht, it promises to be another tough test for the Warriors.
The meeting marks the start of the Warriors’ National League campaign proper and despite recent developments, they will be determined to put their stuttering start behind them.
Tyler Govier misses out with shoulder damage. Rik Mullins is also absent – taking time out for practice and to improve his fitness, so Alex Spooner will provide cover in the reserve.
Warriors: Ben Wilson, rider replacement for Tyler Govier, James Cockle, Chris Widman, Liam Carr, Jamie Sealey, Alex Spooner, Jamie Bursill (number eight)
Hammers: Ben Morley, George Hunter, David Mason, Alfie Bowtell, Zach Wajtknecht, Jamie Couzins, Nick Laurence
n The Warriors will be running a mini-bus to the British Speedway Grand Prix in Cardiff on July 22 and anyone interested in joining the trip should visit the track shop or email firstname.lastname@example.org