Linus hopes to star for Panthers

WINTER signing Linus Ekl�f will be handed a Peterborough debut Friday night – in the best form of his life.

WINTER signing Linus Ekl�f will be handed a Peterborough debut Friday night – in the best form of his life.

The Swedish star, who joined the Readypower Panthers on a two-way contract from Premier League champions King’s Lynn during the winter, has hit double figures in his last two matches for the Stars.

And team boss Trevor Swales will be looking for him to make a major impact as he finally gets his chance at reserve.

Ekl�f had to miss the shock defeat at Eastbourne on Wednesday night because of a clash of fixtures and while the Panthers were going down in a last heat decider he was joint top-scorer for the Stars against Somerset with 12, paid 13 points.


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Swales said: “Linus made a slow start to the new season but he’s come bang on form in the last couple of weeks so it will be interesting to see him at the Showground.

“Nothing less than a convincing win will do tomorrow – and we need those riders who have been struggling for points to hit form.

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“There’s no such thing as an easy meeting in the Elite League but we have to turn Alwalton into a place every visiting team fears and the only way to do that is by winning, and winning big.”

Despite the loss at Eastbourne there was a silver lining with 2009 British Under 21 Champion Lewis Bridger turning in his best performance of the season on his old track.

He was beaten only once in his four rides on his return to Arlington and the Peterborough’s top four grabbed a massive 40 points between them.

But the big weakness was at second string and reserve where Ulrich �stergaard, Krzysztof Buczkowski and drafted-in guest Kyle Hughes struggled.

Swales added: “It was Krzysztof’s first visit to Eastbourne and it is a hard track to go to for the first time, everyone knows that.

“We know what he can do at the Showground and know he’s going to have some meetings where he has a hard time because tracks are still new to him, and totally different to those in Poland.

“He felt it really badly on Wednesday night, you only had to see him in the pits afterwards, he was almost in tears over his performance.

“Kyle did as much as we could have expected, beating Eastbourne’s reserve Dawid Lampart in his first race, but Ulrich didn’t get it together at all even though he started his British career there.

“I want to see a much improved performance from him against Ipswich.”

The Witches are currently second bottom in the table – but have matches in hand of all the clubs above them and are clearly in a false position.

They have a powerful-looking top-end with ex-Grand Prix regular and five-times British Champion Scott Nicholls and 2004 World Under 21 Champion Robert Miskowiak.

The biggest danger though is likely to be the track knowledge of the squad – most of whom are former Peterborough riders.

Nicholls started his league career at the East of England Showground as did winter signing Oliver Allen while Claus Vissing and Daniel King also had lengthy spells in the Panthers’ colours.

Added Swales: “It’s a local derby and none of them will be worried about racing here because they probably know the track better than most of our new-look side!”

Peterborough make a major tactical switch with �stergaard moving up the order to partner skipper Niels-Kristian Iversen while Bridger forms a new pairing with dynamic Kenneth Bjerre.

PETERBOROUGH: Niels-Kristian Iversen, Ulrich �stergaard, Lewis Bridger, Kenneth Bjerre, Troy Batchelor, Linus Ekl�f, Krzysztof Buczkowski.

IPSWICH: Scott Nicholls, Oliver Allen, Claus Vissing, Daniel King, R/R, Dawid Stachyra, Linus Sundstr�m.

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