Scunthorpe speedway promoter expecting title race to be just as close in 2013
JUST 10 points separated the top six last year, and Scunthorpe promoter Rob Godfrey expects the Premier League to be equally as close again.
It means 2013 promises to match its predecessor for drama as the Scorpions battle to retain their title.
Many of their opponents will open the campaign with very different line-ups to those which finished the last.
Scunthorpe on the other hand, following Gary Irving's decision to quit, will have made just two changes.
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And Godfrey hopes this will give them an early edge as his side look to pick up where they left off.
"Once we've dialled in I think we'll be all right," he said.
"There's quite a few strong teams.
"Ipswich have got a new-look side this year, but then everyone's pretty much new-look.
"Somerset have got a really strong team. Workington have put a good team together, Newcastle have got a good team. Edinburgh look good.
"There's plenty of them, but they all look good on paper.
"They tipped us for 10th last year and we won it.
"It was very close last year, one of the closest Premier Leagues we've ever had.
"It's definitely closer this year on paper.
"We've just got to get going and do what we did last year.
"Hopefully we can get going a bit earlier."
After David Howe's Testimonial, the Scorpions begin competitive action with League Cup ties against Leicester and Sheffield, followed by home and away dates with Newcastle for the Premier Shield.
In addition to defending their championship, Godfrey is eager for more silverware.
"We've got some good meetings to start with," he said.
"We've got Leicester first, so we'll be into them straight away, then we have Sheffield away and at home. Their fans might come to the first one to see how they're going to do.
"Both Leicester and Sheffield always draw a good crowd for us.
"The Premier Shield is us as league champions and Newcastle as Knockout Cup champions.
"It's a chance to get some more silverware."
Their first league meeting is a trip to Ipswich on April 18, with the return the following day.
"Hopefully there will be more meaningful fixtures and less not so meaningful fixtures," Godfrey continued.
"We messed about too much last year. The rain killed us.
"We're all aware it may happen again so we want to crack on.
"There will be some gaps next year but hopefully we'll get through it."
The same applies when it comes to Scunthorpe's title challenge.
"Prior to Gary Irving leaving we'd made one change, so even with Gary going we're keeping the bulk of last year's team," Godfrey said.
"I think we have to go forward with confidence and believe we're going to be champions."