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Eagles delighted as Mikkel signs
Eastbourne believe they have a line-up to push for the play-offs after agreeing terms with one of their top targets.
Eagles have secured rising Danish star Mikkel Michelsen on an assessed five-point average.
The 19-year-old made a massive impact at Arlington last season after signing in late July to replace Denis Gizatullin and news of his return will be celebrated by fans.
His return follows hot on the heels of that of Joonas Kylmakorpi and leaves Eastbourne with just one spot left to fill.
Of the side who finished last season, the remaining berth could go to Kim Nilsson, who is not required by parent club Lakeside, Simon Gustafsson or Timo Lahti.
However Lukas Dryml is now out of the equation.
Eagles have 5.43 points with which to play as they shape their top five and Dryml’s current figure is 5.70.
The line-up is almost certain to be completed by Christmas.
Michelsen signed yesterday after confirming his racing schedule and Eagles’ proposed fixture list were compatible.
Potential fixture clashes – rather than financial concerns or any reluctance on either side to strike a deal – were the biggest threat to Michelsen’s continuation at Arlington.
Eagles boss Trevor Geer said: “We were desperate to get Mikkel back but it had to be his decision in the end.
“I’m absolutely delighted with how the team is shaping up. I really think people will sit up and take notice when they see the seven we have got.”
Michelsen has big ambitions to do well in the World Under-21 Championships next year and it remains to be seen how many of those meetings clash with Eastbourne fixtures.
But he has satisfied his sponsors in Denmark that participation in the Elite League will not affect his appearances back home.
He said: “It will work out well for my sponsors because I only have one clash with the Danish league and we are trying to get that one changed.
“Of course I want to do every meeting at Eastbourne but I want to please my sponsors as well.
“They are the guys who pay for the whole thing. These are Danish companies but we need to get everything working as one unit.”
Michelsen quickly adapted to the tricky Arlington circuit, winning over fans straight away with a score of 11+2 (6) at home to Birmingham on his debut.
His average will rise to around 6.50 when he has completed sufficient meetings.
Eagles No.1 Bjarne Pedersen played a part in convincing his fellow Dane to sign in the first place.
Michelsen said: “It is like a little family here. Staying with Trevor and his family when I come over to race is very nice and I feel at home here.”
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