The pressure is on for Workington Comets as the business end of the season brings a succession of must-win matches.

Comets face a long trip to Scunthorpe for tonight’s Championship Shield semi-final first leg (7.30pm start) before a SGB Championship double-header against Newcastle and Redcar at Derwent Park tomorrow (6.30pm start).

Workington cannot afford a heavy defeat like the one they suffered at Scunthorpe in May if they are to progress to the final over two legs and the presence of Tero Aarnio as a guest for Dan Bewley will help after the flying Finn scored 15 points for Comets on that visit.

“It was a disappointing one last time at Scunthorpe and I’d like to think we can definitely do better,” team manager Tony Jackson said.

“The closer we can get to their score, or even beat it, the better because with these two-legged ties it’s a race to 90 points.

“The good thing is that by having the second leg at Workington we’ll know exactly what we need to do.

“Down the years, it is a track we’ve tended to struggle with but the fact we’ve been there already this season should help, as should having Tero Aarnio as a guest after he scored 15 points there last time."

The Scorpions will have a new face at reserve tonight after they released Danny Phillips with immediate effect following the team’s 46-44 win against Sheffield which he failed to score a point in for the third meeting in a row.

Promoter Rob Godfrey said: “It wasn’t doing him any good, and it wasn’t doing us any good either.

“The crowd were starting to lose patience, and it’s not fair on anyone to continue with that situation.

“But it’s not just about the public reaction.

“I feel we’ve reached the stage of the season, where we should put in someone else and give them a go, with maybe a view to next year.

“Just to clarify, the cut-off for transfers has passed and we are voluntarily stepping Danny down.

“What that means is we have no facility as such and we can only replace him with riders from the National League who don’t have a team place in the Championship or Premiership.”

With teenage talent Bewley sidelined for the rest of the season, Aaron Summers will step in tomorrow for two matches which Jackson strongly believes his side simply have to win.

“The two matches on Saturday are must-win fixtures,” he said.

“There are a lot of clubs running a lot of matches between now and the cut-off and the weather could impact again.

“Newcastle and Redcar could both cause us problems so we need to be on it.”

Jackson was still waiting for news of whether Ty Proctor will be fit to ride after he missed meetings for his Premiership side King’s Lynn in midweek following a heavy fall at Sheffield in the Championship Riders’ Individual.