Victory or nothing for Panthers

THE Panthers return to Elite League action on Monday with an important visit to Kirkmanshulme Lane, knowing that anything other than a win will end their chances of reaching the play-offs.

THE Panthers return to Elite League action on Monday with an important visit to Kirkmanshulme Lane, knowing that anything other than a win will end their chances of reaching the play-offs.

Nevertheless Belle Vue was the scene of one of the Panthers earlier away wins as they triumphed in May in the ELA fixture.

Much has changed since then with both teams but the recent inclusion of Jason Crump to Belle Vue's colours has lifted team confidence and the clubs supporters.

Belle Vue were forced to make three changes to accommodate his inclusion and they released Charlie Gjedde, Morten Risager and recent signing Tomasz Chrzanowski, with Lubos Tomicek and a doubling up reserve pairing of Michael Rajkowski and Joel Parsons joining Crump in the new look team.

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They have since changed the team yet again this week with Richard Sweetman replacing Michael Rajkowski as the doubling up partner to Joel Parsons.

The Aces haven't had the best of seasons to date and have also suffered with the loss of Panthers asset Ulrich Ostergaard recently who sustained a likely season ending broken kneecap in a crash at Coventry in August. The Aces have again gone for track specialist and former Ace Kevin Doolan to replace him.

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Panthers meanwhile will be back to full strength with the exception of Kenneth Hansen and will operate rider replacement to cover for his absence, Mads Korneliussen and those below him in the averages are all able to take his rides.

Panther's captain Niels Kristian Iversen said: “To win at Coventry last night was very pleasing and it was a good win for us and it will give the team some confidence when we go away, Belle Vue on Monday is another meeting on a different track and they are stronger now than they were the last time we went there, but if we ride like this again we can win anywhere and we must be ready right from heat one.”

Team manager Trevor Swales said: “If we have any plans to qualify for the play offs we must carry on and ride like we did at Coventry on Friday, its not going to be easy because Belle Vue are a better team than most people give them credit for and they now have the World Champion elect in Jason Crump.

“Having said that he cannot ride in every heat and we must do our utmost to score well throughout the team, if we show the same confidence and belief on Monday that we showed at Brandon we will surprise people.”

Promoter Mick Bratley said: “We reach the point where our EL season rests on the outcome of this fixture. We simply have to win to progress into the EL play-offs. The riders, I am sure, are well aware of what will be expected from them.

“We won in the ELA fixture and we should be just as capable of winning this fixture. People will point to Jason Crump's inclusion in the Belle Vue side as making them stronger, but to accommodate his average, means the Aces have a very long tail. Our second string and reserves will chart our destiny in this match.”

Owner Rick Frost said: “Well done to the team for our away win at Coventry. They showed what they are capable of if they get stuck in. We really need all four points from this meeting with Belle Vue and I'm quietly confident we can get them.

“However ALL our riders MUST gate well for EVERY heat, not just sometimes as is usually the case. Our achilles heel this season has been poor starting and we have lost countless points because of it. If any of our riders have hopes of being in next year's team take heed!”

Aces v Panther's - Previous History

2009 - Aces 44 Panthers 46 ELA

2008 - Aces 53 Panthers 39 ELB

2008 - Aces 52 Panthers 41 ELA

Teams in Alphabetical order (September GSA in Brackets)

Belle Vue Aces

Jason CRUMP (11.07), Kevin DOOLAN (4.41), Patrick HOUGAARD (5.66), Krzysztof KASPRZAK (8.13), Joel PARSONS (3.00), Lubos TOMICEK (4.59) & James WRIGHT (5.03).

Team Manager Chris MORTEN MBE

Peterborough Panthers

Henning BAGER (4.36), Kenneth BJERRE (7.78), Ales DRYML (4.62), Kenneth HANSEN (5.83) Rider Replacement, Niels Kristian IVERSEN (7.86) Captain, Mads KORNELIUSSEN (6.53) & Claus VISSING (4.88)

Team Managers Trevor & Wayne SWALES

SCB Referee - Ronnie ALLAN

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