Kelvin Tatum expects Birmingham and Swindon to make Elite League Final
Birmingham and Swindon can turn their first-leg advantages into Grand Final places, says Kelvin Tatum.
Last Updated: 28/09/13 4:04pm
Birmingham only have a two-point lead over Wolverhampton from the first leg of their semi-final - as opposed to Swindon's 10-point advantage over Poole - but the Brummies are at home on Monday night, a place they haven't been beaten at since April.
I don't think Perry Barr Stadium is hard to get to grips with for opposition teams, it's just that Birmingham have a very solid line-up, albeit one without many stars.
The Brummies have shared out the points this year, had at least four riders as their number one and when someone has had an off night, someone else has stepped up.
They have got on a roll and have a real sense of confidence at the moment.
Chris Harris' average has been down this year and he found it hard to settle earlier in the season, but his performances have improved and he was the star man last week.
Harris could become a hero over the next few weeks, while Birmingham will also be delighted that Josh Auty has been passed fit for Monday because he is a solid reserve and has formed a good partnership with Nicolas Covatti.
Wolves are hamstrung by the injury to Tai Woffinden and Niels Kristian Iversen, seemingly full of confidence after winning a Speedway Grand Prix in Stockholm, had an off night.
I'm sure Iversen will do himself justice on Monday, though, and for Wolves to have a chance of turning this around they will need a double-figure score from him.
Swindon have vowed to attack at Poole's home of Wimborne Road, meanwhile, and I think they will remain true to their word as they have a bit of a hoodoo over the Pirates at the minute after beating them in last year's Grand Final.
Swindon's Hans Andersen was competing in and winning Grands Prix a few years ago whereas he is now not in that series, but he is a very experienced international rider and on big nights he is the type of guy you want in your first race.
Poole, meanwhile, can count themselves fortunate to only be 10 points in arrears - they had a 5-1 late on in the meeting last week to recover from 14 points down so team manager Neil Middleditch will accept the current deficit.
You cannot write off any team featuring the likes of Greg Hancock, Darcy Ward, Maciej Janowski and Thomas H Jonasson and I would expect a much more solid display from the Pirates - and for them to put pressure on the Robins.
They have excitement and quality in the side and if they get off to a good start they could take it all the way to heat 15.