Dean Barker is in danger of gaining a reputation as the quiet man of the Eastbourne Eagles team.

And that is unfamiliar territory for the rider who admitted last year that his wild days cost him a place in the England World Cup squad.

While his team-mates, notably Nicki Pedersen and Davey Watt, have been grabbing the headlines this season, Barker has gone about the business of rebuilding his career almost unnoticed.

A string of scores around the eight-point mark were never going to set the place alight, but they are just what Eastbourne ordered when they brought him in from the cold after a disastrous year with Arena Essex.

Eastbourne boss Jon Cook said : "So far Deano has been the unsung member of the team, keeping the engine room ticking over and picking up a lot of bonus points."

Barker has formed a productive partnership with Adam Shields which has plenty of room for improvement when Shields finds some consistency.

Testimony to Barker's team riding exploits is the fact that he has picked up five bonus points in the last two home wins over Oxford and Ipswich. Watt, with two, is the only other rider with more than one.

Cook believes Barker's form will be one of the key factors in whether Eagles fly out of the pack and launch a serious challenge for the Elite League title this season.

"Getting Deano back on a low average after the dreadful season he had last year was a steal."

Barker concedes he needed to get his act together after a period when he was jaunting around the world and partying on the same showbiz circuit as model Katie Price, aka Jordan.

His return to form, however, could have something to do with him being back on his old stamping ground.

Once an Eastbourne rider, always an Eastbourne rider is an adage that applies to riders like Barker, David Norris and Martin Dugard, who all grew up in the same Eagles team.

It never worked as well for any of them away from Arlington and Barker was never going to pull up any trees with Arena, partying or no partying.

The next chance Barker has to add to his tally of points and bonus points is when Wolverhampton visit Arlington Stadium tomorrow night, when Eagles will be chasing their fourth successive home win against a side who have found life a bit of a struggle up to now.

Ronnie Correy, who has been one of the pluses, admitted before Monday night's home win over Arena: "We are going to lose our jobs if we don't get ourselves together."

That was only Wolverhampton's second victory in six attempts, but they were slow starters last year and then reached the play-offs ahead of Eastbourne, winning twice at Arlington on the way.

Cook is warning against any complacency.

"Matches against Wolves are always tough because both tracks are very similar."

Ulrich Ostergaard is on stand-by to make his first appearance of the season in place of Steen Jensen, who dislocated a thumb last Saturday.

Explained Cook: "Steen has been advised not to ride for three weeks but I wouldn't bet against him riding on Saturday."

Eastbourne: David Norris, Andrew Moore, Dean Barker, Adam Shields, Nicki Pedersen, Steen Jensen or Ulrich Ostergaard, Davey Watt.

Wolverhampton: Mikael Max, David Howe, Steve Johnston, Fredrik Lindgren, Ronnie Correy, Krzysztof Pecyna, Magnus Karlsson.

Tomorrow's match starts at 7.30.