With the 2005 World Cup now in full swing, the race for Elite League play-off places takes a break before the major finishing positions are decided.

For the first time, the sport's showpiece International event is being staged in three different countries which means that the show is moving from yesterday's first round at Swindon to the second qualifying event in Sweden tomorrow.

The host nation will be looking for a clear passage into the Saturday's Final, to be staged in Poland, by winning the meeting and avoiding the need to go into Thursday's treacherous Race-Off - and on their home track at Eskilstuna, they should start as favourites.

Wolverhampton youngster Fredrik Lindgren has been called up into the Swedish line-up as a replacement for the seriously injured Mikael Max, while former Coventry skipper Andreas Jonsson, who quit the Elite League in mid-June, also rides for the hosts.

Outsiders Germany are captained by Coventry's rising star Martin Smolinski, whilst Wolves skipper Steve Johnston is on stand-by for Australia, for whom Davey Watt hopes to make a return from injury. Johnston will deputise if Watt is unable to race.

New Swedish boss Mats Olsson said: "Losing Mikael is a really big blow because he is one of the top five riders we have, but I am certain Fredrik can come in and do a good job.

"He has some good experience now of riding in international meetings and hopefully he can lift himself for the week. He is also a very hard and tough rider, and they are just the sort of qualities you need in the World Cup."

Lindgren has found the going substantially tougher for Wolves since moving into the second heat-leader position, and the Monmore club will probably welcome the week's break as a chance to regroup after a miserable run following Max's injury.

Promoter Chris Van Straaten admits that a massive turnaround in fortunes is required if Wolves are to extend their Elite League season by making the top four and qualifying for the play-offs.

He said: "There are three teams breaking away right now, but the fourth place in the play-offs is still achievable. It will, however, take a remarkable run of results."

Coventry appear almost certain play-off qualifiers and have their sights set on second position and a home tie in the semi-finals after registering an 11th straight home win on Friday.

The Bees defeated bottom club Oxford 54-39 to move to within two points of reigning Champions Poole, both teams having ridden the same number of matches.

Coventry co-boss Peter Oakes said: "It's very much all to ride for because we've both had the same number of home meetings so it could be all about what happens away.

"The ideal for us would be to win down there and take two points off them, which I think we are more than capable of doing with a full team.

"And if we did that, we would be the front-runners."