By Graham Faiz

Long-serving Dane Jan Pedersen is on the lookout for pastures new in 2001.

Pedersen has been told by the Arena-Essex management team that he does not figure in their team plans for the forthcoming season - and has been made available for loan.

2001 is also set to be Jan's testimonial season - he joined the Hammers in 1991 - and there is no doubt that he can still do an admirable job for any side at Premier League level.

Sporting a 6.49 Green Sheet average, Jan has been a huge favourite of Arena fans over the past few seasons thanks to his never-say-die attitude. Although his points scoring was hit last season, this is largely accounted for by the fact that he gave the opposition a 'head-start' so to speak by missing the first few weeks of the season.

When Arena lost Leigh Lanham with a long term injury, Jan returned to the saddle - often taking six or seven rides on his travels in the early stages.

The departure of Pedersen will be of interest to all Arena followers, who have watched the close season with intrigue as the promotion have time and again stated their intention to sign a top-class rider to lead Hammers' charge for honours.

The situation was thrown further into the melting pot following the recent fitness declaration from Gary Corbett. The Greenwich-based flyer has expressed serious doubts about his fitness and is prepared to rule himself out of Arena's 2001 line-up - in the early stages at least.

The 20-year-old sustained a serious wrist injury last August during Arena's PL home match against Sheffield. Corbett now claims that the injury has not healed as well as was expected and has left him with restricted movement. The lack of a fit Corbett is a bitter blow for Arena followers to swallow, especially those who have followed his remarkable progress in the past couple of years.