Saturday September 29, 2018
PETERBOROUGH have been dealt a further injury blow as they prepare to battle on two fronts against Lakeside at Rye House tonight (7pm).

Ben Barker, who had been due to guest for the T.Balfe Construction Panthers in both home and away fixtures against the Hammers this weekend, is now out for the remainder of the season himself after a crash at Redcar on Thursday.

Barker has suffered a dislocated shoulder and a broken arm, bringing an end to his stand-in appearances for injured Panthers No.1 Scott Nicholls.

Tonight’s fixture sees the sides meeting twice at the Hammers’ adopted Hoddesdon home, with the first leg of the Championship Shield semi-final first up as the Panthers look to keep things tight ahead of the return at Alwalton on Sunday.

They then defend a 14-point lead in the second leg of their KO Cup tie as they look to set up a semi-final clash with Scunthorpe.

Newcastle’s Finnish star Tero Aarnio takes a late call-up to replace Barker, whilst the shoulder surgery for Bradley Wilson-Dean means Panthers must use the rider-replacement facility – with Ulrich Ostergaard, Emil Grondal and the reserves eligible for extra outings.

That leads to a change of riding order with Wilson-Dean placed at No.2, whilst Michael Palm Toft takes over the No.5 position.

Meanwhile James Sarjeant, who guested to good effect when Panthers won at Hoddesdon in the league a fortnight ago, again stands in for Tom Bacon.

The Hammers welcome Kyle Newman back from injury, but are still without Zach Wajtknecht, and Broc Nicol comes in to guest at reserve. Nick Morris returns having missed their trip to the East of England Arena last weekend due to Polish commitments.

Panthers manager Carl Johnson said: “It’s a huge blow to lose Ben, but as we’ve said before it’s all about the team performance. We don’t want to rely on the top two or three riders to win meetings, we need everybody, and we showed that last Sunday.

“The last couple of meetings have also shown what an asset Emil can be for us. I think we’re stronger this way around with Simon (Lambert) at reserve, and if Emil is making starts like he was on Sunday then he’s fantastic – it shows why we brought him back.

“Obviously it’s a bonus to have him around Rye House because it’s one of his favourite tracks, so we were lucky when Lakeside opted to go there, because Lakeside isn’t the easiest track for anyone.

“It’s an important night and we need two good performances. The Cup match is only at half time from last week, and we need to set things up in the Shield.”

LAKESIDE: Richard Lawson, Ben Morley, Adam Ellis, Kyle Newman, Nick Morris, Broc Nicol, Alfie Bowtell.
PETERBOROUGH: Tero Aarnio, Bradley Wilson-Dean R/R, Emil Grondal, Ulrich Ostergaard, Michael Palm Toft, James Sarjeant, Simon Lambert.

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