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Barker blow will make it tough - Phil; SPEEDWAY.

Byline: NIGEL PEARSON

PHIL Morris admits Birmingham are going to have to dig deep to win the Elite League title after the loss of Ben Barker last week.

Barker has been ruled out of the remaining weeks of the season after having surgery on his broken vertabrae on Friday.

The club have no alternative but to use the rider-replacement facility, which is sure to weaken them, especially in home meetings where they have often cashed in through the Barker-Danny King partnership.

Team boss Morris said: "It means the lads are going to have to work just that little bit harder, but having said that, I can't fault any of them for effort this season.

"It's a major blow to lose Ben and I did ask the British Speedway Promoters' Association for special dispensation to sign a rider after the transfer deadline but I got the answer I expected, which was no.

"But I have faith in the lads to do the job. We've been through a lot this season and we've stuck together as a group, the team spirit is the one major factor which has got us this far. I'm hoping we can finish top of the table and that gives us choice of opponents in the play-offs, which would be nice.

"We've got a week off now and we can have a chat about things, regroup and then prepare for the play-offs. I think it's a fantastic achievement for the club to be in the play-offs in two successive seasons."

There is no meeting at Perry Barr tomorrow but Birmingham can confirm their position as league leaders for the play-offs with a win over King's Lynn on September 11.

CAPTION(S):

Brummies will miss Ben Barker.
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Title Annotation:Sport
Publication:Birmingham Mail (England)
Date:Sep 3, 2013
Words:288
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