The much fancied Berwick Bandits arrive in Swindon for Premier League action on Thursday, and many eyes will be on former home favourite Claus Kristensen.

The young Danish rider built up quite a following during his time at Blunsdon, and it was with reluctance that the club let him return to his parent side at Berwick during the winter, there being no way of fitting him into the proposed 2002 Impact Robins line-up.

The Bandits blasted their way to the top of their Premier Trophy qualifying group, and are seen by many as early Premier League title challengers. Solidity is definitely the name of the game at Shielfield Park at the moment, as evidenced by the fact that all of the club's top five riders are currently sporting averages within 1.59 of each other.

The heat leaders are Kevin Doolan (7.25 average), Paul Bentley (8.38) and Kristensen (7.96), but it is the close proximity of second strings Adrian Rymel (7.24) and Michal Makovsky (6.79) that make the Bandits such a threat. Not that the reserves are any slouches either, with both Simon Cartwright (4.07) and Steffen Mell (4.55) recording averages of over 4 points.

For this vital Premier League fixture, Impact Robins' Team Boss Peter Oakes makes a couple of positional changes, moving Oliver Allen up to the number one spot, with Charlie Gjedde taking on the third heat leader role. A further switch sees reserves Jason King and Adam Allott swap positions.

Knockout Cup fixture change:

Following the news that Rye House have beaten Somerset for the right to face Swindon in the next round of the Knockout Cup, the Wiltshire club have announced that the away leg of the tie has been brought forward to Saturday 1st June.

This switch means that the tie will be settled over a three-day period, the Blunsdon leg being staged on Thursday 30th May, thus ensuring maximum interest is maintained. The June 29th date originally earmarked for the cup clash, now becomes the date for the Premier League fixture between the two sides at Hoddesdon.

Bell adds to Swindon injury list:

Finally, news that Impact Robins' injury problems are not confined to on-track activities. Following hot on the heels of track injuries sustained by Oliver Allen, Charlie Gjedde, Ritchie Hawkins and Adam Allott, comes the news that popular Meeting Co-ordinator Mick Bell has sustained a broken Achilles heel during his day-to-day work activities!

It appears that Bell was merely walking a short distance when he turned to speak to a colleague, and the accident happened. Further examination proved that the damage done was more complicated than first thought, and an operation to repair the broken/damaged tendons has now been carried out. The best wishes of everyone at Blunsdon go to Mick for a speedy recovery.

Teams for Thursday 16th May (parade 7.30pm):

Swindon Impact Robins: 1. Oliver Allen, 2. Paul Lee, 3. Paul Fry (capt), 4. Chris Neath, 5. Charlie Gjedde, 6. Jason King, 7. Adam Allott.

Berwick Blackshaws Bandits: 1. Kevin Doolan, 2. Adrian Rymel, 3. Paul Bentley (capt), 4. Michal Makovsky, 5. Claus Kristensen, 6. Simon Cartwright, 7. Steffen Mell.