THE big fixtures keep on coming thick and fast for the Cases Somerset Rebels this week as they attempt to reach two cup finals.
First up is a trip to the Steel City for the second leg of their League Cup semi-final against Sheffield – where they hold an 18-point lead from the first leg.
“It has never been my way to go and try to defend a lead, but with the more positive attitude of trying to win the match," said team boss Garry May.
"We put in a good performance when we were recently at Sheffield in the league and were a bit unlucky that night, so we aim to put that knowledge to good use in Thursday’s match."
Then it's back to the Oaktree Arena on Friday evening as the Rebels, the defending KO Cup holders, host Glasgow Tigers in the first leg of that semi-final before the second leg in Glasgow 48 hours later.
The league match between the Rebels and Tigers earlier in the season saw Somerset eventually run out winners on the night by 16 points and are to the only team to have beaten the Tigers on their home Ashfield shale this season – when they clinched an enthralling 46-44 win last month.
Somerset will go into the tie missing two of their riders; Jake Allen has to sit out a mandatory nine-day period after suffering a concussion at Edinburgh last Friday while they are also still without long-term injury victim Zach Wajtknecht.
Birmingham’s Tom Bacon will come in as a guest replacement for the unfortunate Wajtknecht, while as far as Allen’s absence is concerned, the Rebels will use the rider replacement facility.
That is the only option available to them, with Charles Wright and the two reserves, Bradley Wilson-Dean and the aforementioned Bacon, being eligible to take Allen’s rides.
May said: "Of course it is not ideal to go into an important match such as this without Jake, who has been flying around the Oaktree Arena this year.
"But the rest of the boys are determined to overcome Jake’s loss by in the best possible way, by building up a good first leg lead to take to Glasgow.
"Hopefully the Somerset fans will turn out in force on Friday night to get right behind the team."
The Rebels' regular Premier League season ended with two straight 50-43 defeats in rearranged matches at Edinburgh and Workington last weekend.
However top spot is already secure heading into the championship-deciding play-offs.