Sky test a tough one for Panthers

PETERBOROUGH go live in front of the Sky cameras on Monday, for the first time this year when they visit the Abbey Stadium for an Elite League clash with the title favourites Swindon.

PETERBOROUGH go live in front of the Sky cameras on Monday, for the first time this year when they visit the Abbey Stadium for an Elite League clash with the title favourites Swindon.

The pundits have made the Robins the fancied team to win the league this year and they have had an encouraging start to the season.

They lost the first EL match of the season at Poole but have slammed in some impressive home performances so far, although un-fancied Eastbourne ran them closer than expected the other week.

The Robins have always had an impressive spearhead and this year is no exception, Leigh Adams has always been a prolific point's machine but this season Swindon have a talented and solid top 5 which makes them dangerous opponents home or away.

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Tory Batchelor was impressive last year and he is still learning, and the Robins are very nearly there to making him a full asset.

Travis McGowan struggled last year but remains on what many people view as a false average, whilst Jurica Pavlic arrives for a second spell starting on what most people see as a ridiculous assessed 4 point average, bearing in mind some of the performances he put in last year and the fact that he was averaging twice that from the actual fixtures he completed in 2008.

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Whilst Pavlic holds the key, Simon Stead is another who the club are sure will up his starting average, but this has been said of him many times before and it remains to be seen if 2009 will see Stead climb to the heights he achieved at Belle Vue a few years ago.

Peterborough can surely be given credit for showing the Robins last year that Ryan Fisher could do a good job at the Abbey and they have snapped him up on a doubling up role with Cory Gathercole, whilst Krzysztof Stojanowski fills the other reserve berth.

Panthers meanwhile will be going to Blunsdon with a view to coming away with at the very least a good team display, and hopefully something better.

Team manager Trevor Swales has never made a secret of his desire to take points at Swindon, a feat to date, he hasn't achieved, and the feeling is that this is a real chance with the present team line up and the fact that Panthers have an Abbey track specialist in Mads Korneliussen.

Niels Kristian Iversen and Kenneth Bjerre have both had reasonable meetings at Swindon in recent times and Karol Zabik collected 8 points, including two wins, when he rode there for Poole at the beginning of 2008.

Ales Dryml is another who has scored well at Swindon in the past and it's also hoped that the recent form for Andrew Tully and Kenneth Hansen will see them perform well, with both of them making their racing debuts at the Abbey in this fixture.

Mads Korneliussen said: “I am hoping I can boost the team by telling them some secrets on how to do well at Swindon, for me personally it will be cool to go back and I am looking forward to it, we have a good chance and it would be nice to come away with some points. Although the track is big it rides like a small track and most riders tend to over gear for it, but you need to make starts or build your speed up and ride the boards to get by”.

Promoter Mick Bratley said: “I feel for once we are going to Blunsdon with a real chance of coming away with something. Mads, I am sure, is going to be keen to put one over his old club, and the rest of our side are slowly coming into a good spell of form. It's not been a favoured hunting ground for Bjerre and Iversen, but last season they proved to themselves that they can return good points scores at the Abbey.

Owner Rick Frost said: “Monday brings what we expect to be one of our toughest away meetings. Swindon has proved over the years to be a track where we have difficulty in scoring points. The Robins are also favorites this season to win the league. I have a feeling we may give them a big surprise this time around and the going will get tough for the Robins! With the welcome return of Karol last Thursday the team have been given a big confidence boost and the load our riders have carried so well during his absence has been lightened. Also we have Mads in our team this year, who knows the Swindon track so well, and I know his advice and knowledge will prove invaluable to all our team. I am confident of a great performance from all of them”.

Swindon will again staging their hugely popular “Buy One Get One Free” ticketing offer for Monday's televised Elite league 'A' fixture against Peterborough.

Fans are reminded that to take up the BOGOF offer they need to fill out and hand in a voucher at the turnstiles, which can be obtained by downloading the form from the Peterborough or Swindon web sites.

Monday's teams in alphabetical order (Green Sheet Averages in Brackets)

Swindon Robins

Leigh ADAMS (10.51) Captain, Troy BATCHELOR (6.96), Ryan FISHER (3.70), Travis MCGOWAN (4.25), Jurica PAVLIC (4.00), Simon STEAD ( 6.53) & Krzysztof STOJANOWSKI (3.42).

Team Manager Alun Rossiter

Peterborough Panthers

Kenneth BJERRE (7.88), Ales DRYML (4.53), Kenneth HANSEN (3.57), Niels Kristian IVERSEN (7.80) Captain, Mads KORNELIUSSEN (6.94), Andrew TULLY (3.49) & Karol ZABIK (4.56).

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