The EdinburghMonarchs face Arena Essex Hammers at Armadale this Friday in a tough Premier League fixture, which comes in the midst of an important series of matches starting at King's Lynn on Wednesday evening.

The Hammers have one of the most powerful heat leader trios in the country in former World Finalist Kelvin Tatum, Swede Joonas Kylmakorpi and former England Under-21 captain Leigh Lanham. Hammers showed their strength with a home and away KO Cup win over Rye House at the weekend.

Given the strength of the heat leaders on both sides this Friday, it could be that the battle of the second strings will be even more important than usual. Dane Henning Bager (ex-Glasgow) has always seemed to have the potential to score well, and this season he has been going very well. Australian Lee Herne has also shown considerable improvement.

However the Monarchs' pair of Theo Pijper and Rory Schlein will take some stopping on their home track these days. At reserve Wayne Carter will assume even more responsibility riding with an inexperienced partner. The Hammers reserves are very much a mixture of youth and experience, pairing late eighties top-notcher Andy Galvin with promising youngster Jason King.