THE ISLE of Wight Wightlink Warriors will be staging their first speedway fixture of the season — welcoming the Mildenhall Fen Tigers for a National Trophy tie at Ryde's Smallbrook Stadium tomorrow night (Thursday).

The Fen Tigers, the defending National Trophy holders, will be looking to retain it with a much changed line-up —one which has already been dealt a body-blow following an injury to Sam Bebee during pre-season practice.

But any side boasting Danny Ayres and Jason Edwards at the top of their riding order will prove a tough nut to crack, leaving the Islanders needing to be fully prepared for what propmises to be an enthralling night of race action on the track.

The Warriors come together as a team for the first time, with debuts to be handed to their four winter signings — Georgie Wood, Ryan Terry-Daley, Connor King and Chad Wirtzfeld.

"Realistically, it may take those riders a meeting or two to become acclimatised to the sweeping Smallbrook circuit, so it is crucial that last season’s returnees, Ben Morley, Danno Verge and Chris Widman, fully deliver in the Trophy opener," said Warriors co-promoter, Barry Bishop.

"We have had two smashing individual meetings to start our season, but now the real work begins.

"The Fen Tigers can never be underestimated, fielding two top notch heat leaders, who absolutely fly around this track.

"I’m pleased to report Ben (Morley) suffered no ill effects from his last race fall in the Vince Mapley meeting, so we will be at full strength.

"We really do want to set off on a winning note. Warrior fans, who have been so appreciative of the action in the first two meetings, will need to be here in force. They can be the catalyst to achieving an opening night celebration."

Warriors (from): Connor King, Ben Morley, Ryan Terry-Daley, Danno Verge, Chris Widman, Chad Wirtzfeld and Georgie Wood.

Gates open at 5.30pm, with tapes up at 7pm.