ALUN Rossiter admitted his Swindon Robins go to Lakeside as underdogs for the two teams’ Elite League opener this evening.

The 2013 Elite League champions have been successful on their last three visits to the tight Arena Essex Raceway circuit but the Hammers go into 2014 with a strong side, including reliable track specialists Peter Karlsson, Lewis Bridger and Davey Watt along with exciting Danish teenager Mikkel Bech.

With reserve Steve Worrall absent due to commitments with Premier League side Edinburgh, the Robins have a depleted side, highlighting to Rossiter the uphill challenge his side face at one of the toughest tracks in the league.

“They’re all professionals and have ridden before so it shouldn’t be too much of a problem for us although we will certainly go there as underdogs,” he said.

“Lakeside looks strong and I expect they will make some changes over the season to get even stronger.

“It’s the first one for us so we go there open-minded, looking for a win. We won there last season and if we could do that again it would be the perfect start.

“That’s the plan but it is certainly going to be tough.”

Rossiter is disappointed to have to do without Worrall for the opening meeting of the season having backed him to enjoy a successful first year in the top flight, but is hopeful Scunthorpe and Cradley guest Matt Williamson can fill the hole.

“Missing Steve is a real shame because we have high hopes for him this season he’s looked good so far, but we’ve brought in Matt Williamson who comes in with good reviews.

“He’s keen and hungry and I’ve been told by Rob Godfrey he won’t let me down. It’s a bit of a lottery because only a few team managers really know which riders are better than others.”