After the lull the storm for Panthers

AFTER their postponed clash at Wolverhampton on Monday night, Panthers have a hectic 4 matches in 5 days starting on Thursday, with the second visit of the year of the Eastbourne Eagles in a match sponsored by FDG International.

AFTER their postponed clash at Wolverhampton on Monday night, Panthers have a hectic 4 matches in 5 days starting on Thursday, with the second visit of the year of the Eastbourne Eagles in a match sponsored by FDG International.

The return leg is at Eastbourne 2 days later, following an ELB match at Coventry on the Friday and then Panthers host Ipswich at the Showground next Monday.

It provides Panthers with an opportunity to get amongst the play off teams and restore some pride following recent results.

It isn't entirely straightforward however because the World Championship GP semi finals take place at Motala, Sweden and Daugavpils, Latvia next Saturday night and with practice the day before, all teams are affected this week by competing riders.

Ales Dryml having won the weekend qualifier has been drawn at Daugavpils and is unable at this stage to arrange flights that would see him ride in any of the 3 matches this week. Panthers will be using rider replacement to cover for his absence on Thursday.

Kenneth Bjerre rides on Thursday but misses the return at Eastbourne having been drawn to ride at Motala. With both Bjerre and Dryml missing on Saturday team manager Trevor Swales is sourcing a guest replacement which coupled with rider replacement will cover for the missing duo.

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Eastbourne will be in the same boat as they have Davey Watt and Lukas Dryml competing in the same WC semi finals, as well as still having David Norris on the sidelines. At this stage its unclear who will be guesting for either team in the return at Eastbourne with team news being released as and when it's confirmed.

This will be the first match for both teams following the release of the July GSA and both teams have re jigged their riding orders. For Panthers, Kenneth Hansen moves up into the team in a straight swap with Henning Bager who replaces him at reserve.

Eastbourne's ace reserve Simon Gustafsson hasn't ridden enough matches to get a 2009 GSA yet but Lewis Bridger takes over the no 1 race jacket from Davey Watt following his stunning start to the season with Cameron Woodward continuing his partnership with Lewis by moving up to the number 2 position.

Captain Niels Kristian Iversen is still convinced that this season is far from over, he said: “There is still a lot of meetings left, there is still a good chance to get to the play off's, we have had some tough meetings recently and some of the team are not on the best of form. But we should be able to turn things around and we certainly shouldn't be getting beat at home.

We have to get to the play off's and then have to kick in and make the best of our chance, we still have some chances to pick up away points and we haven't ridden at Poole yet, but I do think we could get something this weekend as all teams have riders missing”.

Team Manager Trevor Swales said: “We do really need to get the team back trapping again because we have not won enough races recently, of course we also have the new GSA effective for these matches which means Kenneth Hansen moving up and Henning Bager replacing him at reserve, and I am hoping that helps Henning.

The World Championships semi finals taking place next Saturday will affect all the teams and we have Mads Korneliussen and Kenneth Hansen carrying knocks, so nothing is straightforward.

Just recently we seem to have lost the home advantage we had and everyone seems to be riding Peterborough well, we also seem to be playing teams recently that have suffered at home and we are the next teams they race and we are feeling the backlash”.

Promoter Mick Bratley said: “Of course the recent run of form has been poor and we need to address that and turn it around. I can understand supporters calling for changes, but it isn't like we can go to a Speedway Supermarket and pick a rider off the shelf. Many riders have firm dates in their calendars that would cause fixture clashes, many simply aren't interested in coming to England and of those that may be available, they aren't guaranteed to improve the side. We don't want to make changes for changes sake; it has to be the right change at the right time.

“That's not to say we have given up looking or even given up on the league title, a lot can happen between now and the end of the season, there is a long way to go. This team has not become a poor side overnight or on the back of three poor meetings, we need to get back to where we were a month ago and we can do this. Everyone at the club needs to channel their disappointment into backing and supporting the team through these tough times.”

Owner Rick Frost said “We have four meetings coming up over five days, two home and two away. We will be getting quality guest riders to cover for our absent riders and I confidently expect to get plenty of points from these meetings and regain our winning form. Our team are certainly more than capable of reaching the play offs and I`m sure they will".

In addition to the speedway, Panthers supporters will get a chance to see some quad action on Thursday, with the management booking a Quad special which will take place after the main meeting. As a result of this, there will be no after meeting press conference on Thursday.

Teams in alphabetical order (Green Sheet Averages in Brackets)

Peterborough Panthers

Henning BAGER (4.55), Kenneth BJERRE (7.81), Ales DRYML (4.55) R/R, Kenneth HANSEN (6.10), Niels Kristian IVERSEN (8.28) Captain, Mads KORNELIUSSEN (6.97) & Claus VISSING (4.00).

Team Managers Trevor & Wayne Swales

Eastbourne Eagles

Lewis BRIDGER (7.63), Lukas DRYML (5.60), Simon GUSTAFSSON (4.28), Ricky KLING (4.77), David NORRIS (5.91) R/R, Davey WATT (6.73) Captain, & Cameron WOODWARD (5.10).

Team Manager Trevor Geer