Friday August 03, 2018
PETERBOROUGH look to keep their play-off push on track with a big local derby against Ipswich at the East of England Arena on Sunday (5pm).

It’s the only home fixture this month for the T.Balfe Construction Panthers, who know wins over the Witches and Berwick in their remaining Alwalton league fixtures would make them very hard to catch for sides outside the top four.

And with Lakeside’s home win over Ipswich on Friday having knocked Panthers off the top of the table on race-points difference, the incentive is there to regain top spot on Sunday.

Ipswich are one of the sides who still have ambitions of reaching the play-offs, despite a troubled campaign during which they have made multiple team changes.

The Witches’ season has been heavily affected by injury problems for skipper Danny King, who remains on the sidelines with arm damage. In-form Lakeside and Swindon man Adam Ellis steps in to guest on Sunday.

Since their last visit, Ipswich have parted company with Michael Haertel, Connor Mountain and Danyon Hume – as well as brief signing Jonas Jeppesen – and the arrival of Mark Riss has undoubtedly added strength to their middle order.

Coty Garcia and David Wallinger are the new reserves, although in the case of Wallinger his move is temporary as the Witches plan to include hugely talented youngster Drew Kemp when he turns 16.

Their campaign took a turn for the better when they won at Redcar last Thursday, and a home win over Lakeside this week kept their hopes alive.

Panthers have been inactive as a team since defeating Sheffield three weeks ago, although their riders have all been busy in different leagues and different countries.

Amongst the success stories have been Tom Bacon, with a run of maximums in the National League for Birmingham and an eye-catching first Premiership appearance with 4+1 as a guest for Wolverhampton at Swindon.

Meanwhile skipper Simon Lambert has been scoring important points in recent home wins for King’s Lynn in the top-fight, including two race wins against Swindon.

Ulrich Ostergaard remains on the sidelines with rib damage, with Ben Barker coming in to make a guest appearance at No.5.

Manager Carl Johnson said: “When booking guests, we have to look wisely to riders who will give 110 per cent. We’ve used Ben in the past and we know what we’re going to get, and how much he enjoys racing here.

“It’s always a big meeting against Ipswich, it’s a local derby and they will bring plenty of fans, but I’m sure we can put in another big performance. We’ll be fully concentrating on our own job as usual.

“If we can win at home to Ipswich and Berwick that should just about seal our play-off place, and we’ve got other away matches to come where we’re confident of picking up points as well.”

Following Sunday’s meeting, Panthers have a busy period on the road with trips to Lakeside, Berwick, Newcastle and Ipswich before their next home match.

Panthers will also be staging their annual collection for the Speedway Riders’ Benevolent Fund during the interval. Supporters are requested to donate as generously as they can to this most worthy cause.

PETERBOROUGH: Scott Nicholls, Simon Lambert, Bradley Wilson-Dean, Michael Palm Toft, Ben Barker, Emil Grondal, Tom Bacon.
IPSWICH: Rory Schlein, Cameron Heeps, Nico Covatti, Mark Riss, Adam Ellis, David Wallinger, Coty Garcia.

THE meeting will be followed by 12 heats of junior racing as the Motive Thundercats take on Birmingham in the Midland Development League and then face the Dale Devils in the Northern Junior League.

PETERBOROUGH (MDL): Dan Gilkes, James Chattin, Tom Spencer, Ben Rathbone.
BIRMINGHAM: Jacob Clouting, Rachel Hellowell, Arran Butcher, Bailey Fellows.
PETERBOROUGH (NJL): Dan Gilkes, Ben Rathbone, Max Perry, Jack Bell.
DALE DEVILS: Lewis Millar, Kean Dicken, Gregor Millar, William Cairns.

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