Belle Vue set for Panthers backlash?

PANTHERS take on the Belle Vue Aces for the first time this year on Thursday and then travel to Kirkmanshulme Lane for the return leg the following Monday.

PANTHERS take on the Belle Vue Aces for the first time this year on Thursday and then travel to Kirkmanshulme Lane for the return leg the following Monday.

The One 51 Aces haven't had a particularly good start to the season but have had problems with riders out injured and surprisingly chose to axe Henning Bager when Billy Forsberg was fit to resume despite the fact that the Dane was third in their averages at the time.

Kryszsztof Kasprzak is the club's current no 1 and so far this season has been somewhat inconsistent, but has shown on occasions he can beat the best and he has enjoyed some good meetings at the Showground in recent years.

Charlie Gjedde was retained by the management after a successful 2008 stint whilst third heat leader is Panthers asset Ulrich Ostergaard who found himself looking for a new team following Reading's closure at Smallmead. It hasn't been a very good start for Ulrich as he struggles for points for Belle Vue, but he always enjoys his Showground visits as 9 points in the season opener for the Danish Select showed.

James Wright, a 2007 Ace who spent last year at Swindon returns for another spell in Manchester and completes the second string roles with the aforementioned Billy Fosberg.

The Aces most recent news has seen them axe their doubling up riders of Steve Boxall and Thomas Jonasson and replace them with 2008 Panther, Morten Risager and he now lines up with Patrick Hougaard at reserve.

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Panthers Team Manager Trevor Swales has with the recent loss of Karol Zabik decided to shuffle the riding order with Karol Zabik and Henning Bager swapping places at 2 and 4 respectively to get the best out of rider replacement and avoid problems later in the match.

It of course will mean extra rides for both of the Panthers reserves, but both are now flying at present with Claus Vissing back to something like his best with after top scoring at Ipswich on Monday.

Kenneth Bjerre has been suffering lately a reaction from the leg he broke last year, but is expected to ride and he is also looking forward to riding in the second round of the Grand Prix at the weekend in Leszno.

Henning Bager said: “I am looking forward to both meetings, I am enjoying my speedway at the moment and I am just trying to do the best job I can, it was very disappointing to lose at Ipswich but the track changed a lot mid meeting and they got a lot of the home track advantage back but it's about getting on with the job. The Belle Vue track isn't too bad but I don't really have any favourites in that respect and just ride them all and try and score the points”

Team Manager Trevor Swales said: “I have moved rider replacement up to no 2 because it's easier to sort out and gets it all out of the way before the last few heats. Belle Vue might be struggling a bit at the moment, but they have plenty of riders that are capable of putting in a good performance at our place. The way we have ridden in our past couple of away meetings, we can take nothing for granted. I expect to see 110 per-cent focus and 120 per-cent effort from our boys and do not want to end the night with anything less than three points."

Promoter Mick Bratley said: “The steam has just about stopped coming out of my ears following our collapse at Ipswich on Monday and I'm looking for a passionate and committed performance from our guys for 15 heats rather than 8. I fully expect Belle Vue to feel the backlash of our disappointment from Monday”.

Owner Rick Frost said: “After our dismal away display against the Ipswich Witches, where we threw away the meeting after being in total control for most of the match, anything could happen. We did have some excuses for losing away to Coventry but there are none for our defeat at Ipswich".

"It was a very poor showing from some of our riders, (they know well who they are), who let down their team mates, management and the loyal supporters who went to support them. We are fully prepared to make further team changes shortly if certain riders don't ride to their full potential and I await the outcome of the next three meetings before any decisions are made regarding this".

Teams in alphabetical order - (Green Sheet Averages in Brackets)

Peterborough Panthers: Henning BAGER (4.63), Kenneth BJERRE (7.88), Kenneth HANSEN (3.57), Niels Kristian IVERSEN (7.80) Captain, Mads KORNELIUSSEN (6.94), Claus VISSING (4.47) & Karol ZABIK R/R (4.56).

Team Managers Trevor & Wayne Swales

Belle Vue Aces: Billy FORSBERG (4.81), Charlie GJEDDE (7.86) Captain, Patrick HOUGAARD (4.00), Krzysztof KASPRZAK (8.68), Morten RISAGER (4.42), Ulrich OSTERGAARD (5.17) & James WRIGHT (4.90).

Team Manager Chris Morton MBE