Edinburgh Monarchs without key duo Sam Masters and Josh Pickering for crucial KO Cup clash against arch-rivals the Glasgow Tigers

The Edinburgh Monarchs are back on home shale tomorrow night after spending the past few days racing on England's south coast.

The Scottish side suffered back-to-back Championship defeats to the Plymouth Gladiators and Poole Pirates on Tuesday and Wednesday respectively. However, they picked up a losing bonus point against Plymouth for their endeavours before narrowly missing out on the same feat 24 hours later.

Attentions now switch to this weekend's KO Cup double-header against the Glasgow Tigers, Monarchs desperate to exact revenge on their arch-rivals for last month's defeats in the league.

However, the biggest talking point ahead of the quarter-final clash is that the Monarchs will be without top duo Sam Masters and Josh Pickering to spearhead their challenge in the return leg at Ashfield on Saturday night.

Monarchs are already missing James Sarjeant and Lasse Fredriksen through injury, left back row, and now Sam Masters, on bike, and Josh Pickering, right, will be absent at Glasgow this weekend. Picture: Jack Cupido.

The Australian duo have a fixture clash and are duty-bound to ride in Poland for Rawicz with league matches on the continent taking precedence over UK cup fixtures.

Co-promoters Alex Harkess and John Campbell have called upon the services of Richard Lawson and ex-Monarch Justin Sedgmen to stand in as guests for the trip west, but the absence of arguably the Championship's top pairing will almost certainly hinder the club's chances of progressing to the last four of the competition.

The outcome has drawn some criticism from supporters for the promotion agreeing to the staging of this weekend’s second leg in the first place.

It is therefore imperative the Capital outfit do their utmost to build up a healthy first-leg advantage at Armadale tomorrow night.

Team manager Harkess said: "We begin a very difficult cup tie with Glasgow. We beat them last year when it wasn't expected that we would, and we also recently pushed them to just a two-point defeat at Ashfield.

"So, it isn't something which is beyond us, to win this tie, but to even start with a home victory which is essential. We need every single rider to do their very best. If anyone is even a shade off, then we will struggle."

Monarchs will again be without injured Norwegian Lasse Fredriksen who is out with a fractured shoulder while the Oxford Cheetahs' Dillon Ruml will stand in for the absent James Sarjeant at reserve.