Challenge double date for Panthers and Hammers

PETERBOROUGH will kick-off their 2013 season with a double Challenge date against Lakeside Hammers.

PETERBOROUGH will kick-off their 2013 season with a double Challenge date against Lakeside Hammers.

The Readypower Panthers will take on the Essex side in two matches over as many days which will provide supporters with their first chance to see the new-look team in action.

The home leg will be staged at the East of England Showground on Thursday March 21 (7.30pm), followed by the away fixture twenty-four hours later at Purfleet (Friday March 22, 8.00pm).

It will be a perfect warm-up for the Panthers before their Elite League campaign starts the following week, where on Good Friday (March 29) they take on near-neighbours King’s Lynn twice in the same day. The Showground Bank Holiday action will begin at 2pm, with the return at the Norfolk Arena starting at 7.00pm.

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Peterborough have revamped their team from last season with skipper Kenneth Bjerre, Linus Sundstrom and Norbert Kosciuch the only returnees - with Kenni Larsen, Ryan Fisher, Patrick Hougaard and Dakota North all being added during the winter to boost the side’s middle-order and reserve berths.

Lakeside include three former Panthers in their ranks, with evergreen Swede Peter Karlsson taking their No.1 position and Piotr Swiderski and Lewis Bridger are both included in their middle order. The Hammers are captained by former Elite League title-winner Davey Watt, and also track one of Great Britain’s biggest rising stars in Richie Worrall.

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Panthers boss Jan Staechmann said: “No doubt this will be a tough test for us because of the difference of track shape and size, but it is also the best way to shake off any winter cobwebs and get back into the swing of things before the league programme starts a week later on Good Friday.

“All of our riders are raring to go, and already there is a good buzz from the riders about the season ahead.

“At the risk of covering old ground, it is very clear that we must not drop any points at home - which we found to our great expense in 2012. So to start off with a friendly against 2012 play-off contenders Lakeside, will be a good test to see how we stack-up as a team, to test the pairings, etc.

“Regarding the away leg we know that Lakeside are notoriously strong at home, so it will be good to see the new-look Readypower Panthers in action on the tight Arena-Essex Raceway.”

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