Ipswich Witches owner Chris Louis says his side were lifted by the fans in the KO Cup final – and he hopes for more of the same tonight, as Belle Vue visit Foxhall Heath in the Premiership play-offs semi-final first leg (7.30pm).

Witches fans made their voices heard throughout the evening before pouring onto the centre green as their heroes lifted the KO Cup after victory over Sheffield Tigers last week. It was the club’s first major trophy in 25 years.

Now Louis and his team are hungry for more – with champions Belle Vue standing in their way of reaching the play-off final.

“Last week was great, the celebrations, the way the crowd were throughout the meeting helped carry us along,” Louis said. “The fans can lift us again.

“I was watching the faces of our riders when the fans came onto the centre green, and you could tell a few of them were surprised to see how much it meant to everyone.

“That night will sit with them, and they are under no illusions now why we do what we do at Ipswich."

East Anglian Daily Times: The Ipswich Witches celebrate with their fans last weekThe Ipswich Witches celebrate with their fans last week (Image: Steve Waller)
The Witches face a stiff challenge against Belle Vue having not beaten the Manchester outfit in four outings this season. And they will have to do it without Jason Doyle who crashed heavily at the weekend in Denmark.

Not that Louis has ruled Doyle out of this season’s play-offs.

“Jason is a waiting game,” he said. "He needs to feel comfortable and be ready to ride. He has no broken bones, all I will say is, he’s not ruled out for the season, but he is ruled out for this week."

Chris Harris will guest for Doyle, while Joe Thompson comes back into the Ipswich side as the Rising Star.

East Anglian Daily Times: Jason Doyle is out injuredJason Doyle is out injured (Image: Steve Waller)
Belle Vue include Grand Prix ace, Dan Bewley and flying Aussie, Brady Kurtz, but they also have injuries, with Charles Wright out after a crash in Poland.

The first leg was originally due to be raced at Belle Vue on Monday, but was scuppered by bad weather.

Ipswich: E Sayfutdinov, D Hume, D King, E Riss, C Harris, K Rew, J Thompson.

Belle Vue: B Kurtz, R/R, J Lidsey, T Brennan, D Bewley, N Blodorn, C Bailey.