Stoke Potters have suffered a major injury blow ahead of the new speedway season.
Rider Paul Burnett has been ruled out after breaking his leg in an accident at work.
Potters promoter Dave Tattum commented “It was great knowing we had our team in place and then I had a phone call off Paul informing us that he’d been injured at work.
"We then waited a little while awaiting outcomes from the hospital and Paul has now had to have an external fixator fitted to his leg resulting in there being no chance of him being fit to race by the start of the season.
"All of us here at Stoke send our best wishes for a speedy recovery to Paul.”
The Stoke management have moved swiftly to sign Shelby Rutherford.
He links up with the Potters having previously ridden for Newport, Buxton and Cradley last riding in 2017.
Potters promoter Dave Tattum said “It is unfortunate for Paul Burnett but it has allowed the door to open for Shelby and we welcome him to the club.
"Shelby had contacted us at the back end of last year and we said we would keep him in mind and when Paul (Burnett) informed us of the extent of the injury we considered our options and after weighing them up we spoke to Shelby and a deal was quickly agreed.
"He will come into the main body of the team as a direct replacement for Paul (Burnett).”