Mark Loram is out of Monday night's clash with Elite League leaders Coventry.

The former world champion had targeted the big TV showdown at Arlington Stadium for his return to action in an Eastbourne Eagles race jacket, but that has now been put on hold.

He said: "It wouldn't be fair on the club or the fans for me to try to ride. If I had to pull out after one or two rides, it would be worse than starting with no one.

"Eastbourne is not the easiest track to get round. It's quite a physical little track."

Loram practised at Peterborough and Arena Essex this week to test the arm which he broke in two places on Good Friday and had pencilled in an open meeting in Germany this weekend for his racing comeback.

But it soon became clear he was fighting a losing battle. Another spin at King's Lynn was scrapped, and plans to go to Germany were abandoned.

"I did a couple of laps at Peterborough and had to pack up. It was useless.

"Arena a couple of days later was quite promising. I did a lot more laps. The fact is I'm getting there, but it's nowhere near right at the moment."

Loram was due to ride in a speedway meeting at Teterow tomorrow as part of a big weekend of motor-cycle racing in Germany which is followed the next day by a grass-track meeting and then on Monday by a world championship long-track semi-final.

"I was hoping for a run-out in the German meeting, but the arm isn't up to it."

Loram, who has missed the first two world championship meetings in Poland and Sweden, is now hoping to make his track comeback in the British Grand Prix in Cardiff in eight days' time but rates his chances of riding at the Millennium Stadium no better than 50-50.

That is a view shared by his manager Norrie Allen, who explained: "Mark probably made too much progress in the first few weeks. It meant we got a bit carried away.

"Now everything has slowed down and it's very frustrating. We tried to play it down a bit at the start, but it was a bad break.

"You have to remember Mark was told 12 weeks in the beginning and we are only just over halfway there. We wanted to see what the reaction was after Mark had practised this week and it wasn't as good as we had hoped."

Eastbourne, who have lost touch with the pace-setters after winning only one of their last six league matches, clearly miss their talisman, but Allen emphasised: "The worst thing Mark could do now is ride too soon and put himself out for another month."

Eagles go to Belle Vue two days after the British Grand Prix, but it is looking increasingly likely that the Sussex outfit will have to wait until at least the home match against Oxford on June 21 before Loram is back in their line-up.

Eastbourne boss Jon Cook said: "It's a big blow not having Mark back in for the Coventry match, but hopefully another two weeks will mean he'll come back totally fit."

The good news for Eagles, however, is that Cook has got the man he wanted as a guest replacement for Loram in the shape of Todd Wiltshire.

The Australian has twice hit double figures for Eagles in Loram's absence.

Wiltshire has agreed to ride in Monday's meeting even though it means him sandwiching Arlington in between riding in Germany at the weekend and Sweden on Tuesday.

Cook said: "Getting a guest for Mark is a difficult business."