No changes planned for Witches

IPSWICH Witches rider manager Chris Louis last night revealed that the club has no immediate plans to alter their team.The Witches are in Elite League Knock-Out Cup action against Belle Vue at Foxhall Stadium tonight (start 7.

Elvin King

IPSWICH Witches rider manager Chris Louis last night revealed that the club has no immediate plans to alter their team.

The Witches are in Elite League Knock-Out Cup action against Belle Vue at Foxhall Stadium tonight (start 7.30pm) looking to overcome a first leg 13-point deficit to go through to take on Poole in the next round.

In the bottom three in the Elite League and without a single away point to their name, fans have been waiting to see if Ipswich follow the example of Coventry and Poole and strengthen their team now that they have completed six home and six away meetings and can raise their combined team average from 39.90 to 42 points.


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Louis said: “Our riders are aware that we always want to track the strongest side, and if an appropriate rider becomes available we will take steps. But there is no one fitting the bill at the moment and no immediate changes are planned.

“We are not happy with the side, because we are not top of the table. There is evidence that the team can score heavily, but as yet they haven't been able to do it at the same time.”

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Louis confirmed that Ipswich rode under protest in their televised defeat at Coventry on Monday because of the Bees' use of Scott Nicholls.

But he does not expect the result to change. “What is upsetting is the inconsistencies shown by the authorities,” said Louis.

“Coventry are arguing one way and Poole, who want to bring in Hans Andersen, are being dealt with another way.

“We have a duty to our fans and team to see that things stick to the rules.”

Louis, who was at the Suffolk Show yesterday along with other club officials and riders and will be there again today, says that the priority this week is to make cup progress against the Aces from Belle Vue.

“We will be doing everything and more to overcome our 13-point disadvantage,” said Louis. “We desperately want to make progress in the cup and there will be 100% effort.”

With Kozza Smith due to ride for King's Lynn if he has recovered from the injuries he sustained at Coventry on Monday, fellow doubling-up rider Carl Wilkinson comes back into the team after his double-figure score at home last Thursday.

Dawid Stachyra, who suffered a bruised arm and tissue damage to his arms and legs in the same crash at Brandon, will have a late fitness. If he is unfit, Ipswich-raised Jerran Hart - the Ipswich No. 8 - will step into the side.

James Wright will miss out for Belle Vue after twisting a knee in a crash at Wolverhampton on Monday and the Aces will still be without Swede Billy Forsberg, who needs another fortnight before resuming after breaking a thumb.

Team manager Chris Morton, who is confident his side can protect their 13-point advantage, said: “It is not a major problem with James and we will use rider replacement for him as he has a slightly higher average than Billy. This means we will be able to give Ulrich Ostergaard an extra ride.

“We will bring in a guest rider to replace Billy although the choices are limited with six Elite League teams in action.”

Morten Risager, who rode in place of the injured Leigh Lanham at the start of the season, could be an Aces trump card at reserve.

Ipswich Witches: J Hampel, L Lanham, T Kroner, D King, P Swiderski, D Stachyra, C Wilkinson.

Belle Vue Aces: K Kasprzak, AN Other, U Ostergaard, Rider replacement, C Gjedde, M Risager, P Hougaard.

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