Sheffield Pirtek Tigers will be up against a familar face when they take on Newcastle in Premier Trophy action at Owlerton on Thursday (7.45pm). Former Sheffield man Robbie Kessler has been booked as a guest replacement for injured Diamonds skipper Phil Morris and his battles with Sheffield's top riders will be eagerly awaited.

Sheffield need to win the meeting by more than seven-points to claim the aggregate bonus point which would keep alive their hopes of qualification for the semi-finals.

Czech Republic duo Josef Franc and Lubos Tomicek are both expected to do well on the big Owlerton bowl for Newcastle and Christian Henry has had good meetings at Sheffield in the past.

Machin said: "Newcastle are an unknown quantity to a large extent because of all the new signings they have made.
"Reg Wilson, our team manager, will be stressing to our boys that they must not take anything for granted despite the fact that we are favourites."