Trigger predicts new-look Plymouth Devils could finish as high as second in their league this season
PLYMOUTH Devils' team boss Lee Trigger has predicted the city speedway side will finish second in the league this season.
Trigger made his bold prediction in a national speedway magazine after rebuilding the side who finished last in the Premier League last season.
He told Herald Sport: "I was just asked for predictions about where we would finish and I put second place.
"I think it was a case of my heart ruling my head, but I genuinely think we will do well and at least make the play-offs.
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"This year, if we can start well, then it will set us up for the rest of the season.
"It's very difficult when you're bottom and you try and get out of it.
"But if we can start well, then it gets the riders' confidence up."
Trigger, who incidentally predicted Berwick would finish top and Glasgow bottom, will be putting his team through their paces at the club's press and practice day tomorrow (1pm).
Devils were taken over by a consortium which includes influential former captain Seemond Stephens.
The deal took so many twists and turns on its way to being completed, it was feared the Devils could fold.
Trigger said: "It seems a bit unreal sometimes, because first it was off, then it was on, then it was off, then it was on again.
"In the end, everything was done in a bit of a rush.
"So the fact it actually was on didn't sink in probably until I was signing deals with riders. All the riders are here and everything's set up and ready to go."
The new face of Plymouth Speedway goes public for the first time tomorrow when the Devils' St Boniface Arena hosts the semi-final of the British Under-21 Championship (7pm).
It will be the first meeting under the Peninsula Promotions Ltd banner following the winter takeover from Mike Bowden, who re-introduced speedway to the city in 2006.
Some of the country's top young riders will be chasing the seven places up for grabs to join the nine, seeded riders in the British Under-21 final, to be held at Dudley, on April 23.
There have been two late changes to the originally announced line-up with the Buxton duo of Tyler Govier and Matt Williamson called up in place of Connor Coles and Richard Franklin, who have pulled out of the meeting.
Govier and Williamson were originally named at reserve and those places will now be filled by Michael Neale and Cornish youngster Martin Knuckey, who will be riding for Coventry in the National League this season.
The line-up includes former Plymouth rider Danny Stoneman, who remains a Plymouth asset although he rides for the Isle of Wight in the National League.
Also in action will be 15-year-old double British Youth champion Nathan Greaves of Dudley and three riders – Jake Knight (Sheffield), Adam Ellis (Ipswich) and Josh Bates (Scunthorpe) – who will be making their Premier League debuts this season.
The meeting will be staged over the traditional 20-heat formula, with the top three riders progressing into a final and the next four contesting a semi-final to decide the remaining final place.
That will produce an overall winner on the night, although all the top seven qualify for next month's championship final.
There will be specially reduced admission prices of £11 for adults, with OAPs £9 and children £5.
Devils co-promoter Ashley Taylor said: "Although the meeting will feature top young British riders, we appreciate we will not be seeing the same standard as for Premier League meetings.
"We have taken that into account."
British Under-21 Championship Semi-Final line-up: Brendan Johnson (Coventry Storm), Jake Knight (Sheffield/King's Lynn Young Stars), Nathan Greaves (Dudley), Darryl Ritchings (Isle of Wight), Brandon Freemantle (Isle of Wight), Richard Andrews (unattached), Liam Carr (unattached), Danny Stoneman (Isle of Wight), Adam Ellis (Ipswich/Isle of Wight), Tyler Govier (Buxton), Oliver Greenwood (Coventry Storm), Dan Greenwood (Dudley), Matt Williamson (Buxton), Shane Hazelden (King's Lynn Young Stars), Josh Bates (Scunthorpe/Mildenhall), Max Clegg (Dudley). Reserves: Martin Knuckey, Michael Neale.