Top Swedes Mikael Max and Andreas Jonsson have never ridden for anyone other than their parent clubs in the Elite League - but all that will change in 2006.

Max's entire UK career has been with Wolverhampton since his first appearance in 1993, whilst former Coventry skipper Jonsson launched his Brandon career in 1998.

Now, though, they have agreed a job-share a rrangement with strugglers Arena-Essex, who are hoping to climb the table this year after two seasons in the lower reaches.

The deals have come about due to Max's serious thigh injury of last summer, which ruled him out of Wolves' team plans as he could not guarantee his fitness for the start of the new campaign.

He is therefore expected to join the Hammers in May, with Jonsson deputising until then at a Purfleet circuit where he has previously excelled for the Bees and broke the track record last season.

Jonsson, like multi-world champion Tony Rickardsson, does not want to commit to a full season of Elite League racing and struggled with the demands of travelling last year with illness forcing him out of the Bees' line-up in June.

So the arrangement appears to be one which pleases most parties - although Coventry fans will scour the fixture lists when they are released to see if they are due to meet the Hammers in the first two months.

Max, meanwhile, would be almost certain to make a Mon-more return with an opposing club for the first time during the remainder of the season.

Arena boss Ronnie Russell looks likely to once again make use of several loan signings, but is relieved to have a top rider guaranteed for the whole season after losing Mark Loram, who has moved to Ipswich.

Russell said: "Mikael will be a superb acquisition for us. He is a top class heat leader.

"I would also like to thank Andreas for all his help in agreeing to deputise for Mikael. Everyone knows we had been talking and he was delighted to be able to join us until Mikael is fully fit."

Max was also attracting interest from Oxford, who have signed Rickardsson on a short-term deal. But it is thought that Jonsson can stay in the Elite League for a little longer if Max's injury recovery hits any delays.

Wolves promoter Chris Van Straaten said: "It will be good to see Mikael back on a bike and I believe it's a good move for him and Arena."

Van Straaten is now in talks with youngsters William Lawson and Ben Wilson as he finalises the club's team plans for next season.

Lawson and Wilson are set to take on doubling-up berths for Wolves alongside their regular Premier League commitments for Edinburgh and Sheffield respectively.