Wolverhampton asset Nicki Pedersen won his first Grand Prix for two years in Slovenia on Saturday [2014] but is unfit to race at Monmore Green for Eastbourne tonight.

The Dane, who lifted the World Championship back in 2003, emerged at the top from a thrilling opening to this season's GP series at Krsko, but has now headed into hospital for an operation on a long-standing wrist injury.

Officially Pedersen's participation in the next Grand Prix in Wroclaw a week on Saturday is now uncertain, but in reality it would be the story of the season if he did not make it.

His absence from tonight's clash at Monmore is clearly a major setback for the Eagles [2014] and probably for several Wolves fans, even though Pedersen has become the man they love to hate since leaving the club. He guarantees drama, and his races against the Wolves heat-leaders would have been well worth watching.

It is still an important match, however, as East-bourne are second in the Elite League table despite also being without Adam Shields due to a serious pelvic injury, and broken collar-bone victim Brent Werner.

Their position is perhaps slightly false due to their imbalance of home and away fixtures [2014] and the fact that they have raced against basement club Oxford [2014] but they are a team who have a habit of performing well at Monmore.

Eagles promoter Jon Cook wryly commented: "The Wolves fans have plenty of love and respect for Nicki so I am sure they will be very disappointed, but we have to soldier on.

"He is working his operation in around the Grand Prix and took the decision after talking to a specialist. In the meantime we just have to hope that the rest of our boys raise their game."

For Wolves it is an ideal opportunity to boost their own prospects, and as they only suffered a two-point defeat in the reverse fixture at Arlington recently they should be able to claim the aggregate bonus point.

Team boss Peter Adams felt that the 46-44 defeat on the South coast was a missed opportunity, and it is away form which is the concern for the Monmore men at this stage. They held a team meeting following their sorry Good Friday which saw them beaten at Belle Vue and Coventry, and certainly came good at home to the Bees.

Skipper Peter Karlsson said: "Our win against Coventry does show there is quality in the team, and it is good that we can now get some home meetings and get our confidence going."

Coventry launch a busy period with a chance to move significantly up the table this week with home and away matches against struggling Oxford, who themselves were beaten heavily at Eastbourne on Friday.

The Bees travel to Cowley on Wednesday before hosting the return at Brandon on Friday.

And whilst they will target an aggregate bonus, they will surely be disappointed if they do not come away from the University city with a win.