Ipswich Witches boss Hawkins backs his team and individuals to ‘turn it around’

Witches team manager Ritchie Hawkins. PICTURE: STEVE WALLER WWW.STEPHENWALLER.COM

Witches team manager Ritchie Hawkins. PICTURE: STEVE WALLER WWW.STEPHENWALLER.COM - Credit: Picture: Steve Waller

Ipswich Witches team boss Ritchie Hawkins says he has full confidence in his team as the Foxhall Heath outfit build up to a hectic few months.

The Suffolk side entertain Edinburgh Monarchs at Foxhall Stadium tomorrow night in a league clash (7.30pm).

Having only ridden four Championship meetings so far this season, the Witches are seventh in the 11-strong league and are eight points off the play-offs.

However, after tomorrow, they have 15 of their 20 league meetings to race in July and August.

Plenty of points up for grabs, the Witches season is still very much in their own hands.

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“We need to improve if we are to make the play-offs,” Hawkins said.

“But I have confidence in everyone’s abilities and hopefully the couple of riders that are struggling can turn it around and it would be nice to start clicking as a unit. But the main time to do that is nearer the end of the season.

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“We haven’t all fired on the same night yet and after the Edinburgh meeting we have another couple of weeks off to re-group.

“After that it is a big couple of months and some people are struggling, some are progressing but hopefully they will all come good at the right time.”

The Witches have been struck another injury blow as German, Michael Hartel, has had it confirmed he has a broken arm.

With an average of just over five points, it’s a tricky position for the Witches to fill and they are likely to look for a short-term replacement as rider replacement is a big risk with so many meetings ahead.

““Michael has had it confirmed it’s a broken arm and doctors in Germany plan to do an operation tomorrow after the swelling has gone down,” Hawkins said.

“Hopefully that will go well and we will see him back at Ipswich in a couple of months or so.”

A truncated fixture list has seen the Witches ride just seven meetings in May and June, while they now face 15 in the next two months.

It hasn’t been ideal and momentum has been an issue.

However, after a fine draw at Newcastle in a Championship clash and having seen off the Diamonds and Sheffield at Foxhall, a win tomorrow night will see Hawkins side in a decent position.

Thursday’s line-ups

Ipswich: 1. Rory Schlein 9.08 2. R/R for Michael Härtel 5.20 3. Cameron Heeps 6.57 4. Nico Covatti 6.30 5. Danny King 9.05 © 6. Connor Mountain 3.58 7. Danyon Hume 3.74. Team Manager: Ritchie Hawkins

Edinburgh: 1. Ricky Wells 9.12 © 2. Joel Andersson 5.20 3. Josh Pickering 4.82 4. Mark Riss 5.59 5. Mason Campton (g) 8.11 6. Coty Garcia 4.43 7. Max Ruml 4.00. Team Manager: John Campbell

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