Connor Dugard has backed Eastbourne Eagles to challenge for the title.

But their line-up remains a man short as they prepare for the National League season.

The IT First Eagles team manager has hit back at predictions in the speedway press that his track were likely to miss out on the play-offs this term.

Speaking at the club’s Fans Day at Arlington, Dugard said: “It’s just someone else to prove wrong, I guess. I’d rather prove people wrong than put a lot of pressure on the team.

“I’ve got five or six grass-trackers in the team and they all want to get stuck in.

“Everyone wants to give 110%. No one here wants to slack. No one wants to be a loser.”

Eagles are still hunting a replacement for Adam Extance, who has opted not to ride this term due to injury.

The Argus understands one potential replacement has declined an offer to replace Extance due to personal issues.

Last term’s cup-winning skipper Jake Knight announced his retirement last Autumn but has been practising at Arlington – and looking in great shape.

Knight has admitted via social media that he regrets the decision to hang up his kevlars but his average would not fit within the current Eastbourne line-up.

Eagles would love to bring him back but no offer has been made and they would think long and hard before making multiple line-up changes.