11/02/2012, 12:49

Birmingham boss Graham Drury admits he has been forced back to the drawing board in his bid to find a doubling-up partner for Team Great Britain racer Ben Barker.

The Cornishman will split his time between the Brummies and Premier League club Plymouth for the second season running.

But given that he returns to the Elite League club on a high 6.87 average, Drury is understandably determined to ensure one of his big-hitters is available for as many meetings as possible.

Brummies have already held talks with the BSPA’s fixture compilers to ensure Barker can race for Birmingham as often as possible. However, with fixture changes and rain-offs inevitable in Britain, Drury must find someone to share Barker’s spot.

The former Workington promoter thought he had filled the last spot in his squad, but admits finding someone willing to play second fiddle to Barker has proved tough.

"I will take my time to consider riders from the Premier League and see who can fit the bill."

- Graham Drury

He told the Birmingham Mail: “I need to add a rider to share the double-up spot with Ben Barker, but the problem is whoever signs will do so on the understanding that Ben is first choice.

“It’s almost impossible to replace Ben and that’s why I signed him only after negotiating with the fixture compilers to ensure we have him available.

“I was looking at one rider in particular last week but the goalposts moved and I had to rule him out.

“I expect Ben to be riding in our Midland League meetings to start the season as there are no clashes with his Plymouth meetings at this stage.

“I’m highly delighted with the team we have got for the new season and I certainly feel the fans are happy about it but that doesn’t mean I am taking this last spot lightly.

“I will take my time to consider riders from the Premier League and see who can fit the bill.”

Drury admits he remains somewhat surprised by Barker’s decision to double-up between Britain’s top two leagues.

He added: “I still maintain Ben is too good to be riding for Plymouth; he’s an Elite League rider. But I take his point when he says riders like Andreas Jonsson double-up in Sweden – and he’s the world No.2.

“In an ideal world I wouldn’t be using double-up riders, but there is no point in trying to deny them the opportunity to maximise their income. This applies to Ben, Josh Auty and Tyson Nelson.”

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