Dakota North set to be fit as Ipswich Witches face Leicester
Ipswich Witches manager Pete Simmons insists the club is in no rush to appoint a new skipper following the shock departure of Kevin Doolan.
The Witches host second-placed Leicester Lions in the Premier League tonight, before making the long trip to second-bottom Plymouth tomorrow.
Seventh-placed Ipswich are looking to build on last week’s morale-boosting 51-39 home win over Berwick – a meet which saw the return of Taylor Poole in place of Doolan at number one – and Simmons wants his riders’ focus to be solely confined to on-track issues.
Dakota North (thumb) is expected to be fit for the meeting and will ride at number two, instead of a rider replacement, with Poole continuing to spearhead the Witches’ attack.
Poole scored paid nine against Berwick last week and was the Witches’ lowest scorer, something that gave Simmons encouragement as it displayed how dominant the rest of the team were.
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Simmons wants that form to continue and explained the selection of a new captain at this stage of the season – with the Witches eyeing a top-six play off spot – would be an unwelcome distraction.
“We are not putting the pressure of the captaincy on anyone,” said Simmons.
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“Last week I did a coin toss and the I did the captain’s duties before the meeting.
“I want the team to concentrate 100 per cent on the job in hand tonight and the responsibility can affect different riders in different ways, some positively, some negatively.”
Tonight’s opponents currently sit second in the Premier League table and their dangerman is undoubtedly former Witches star, Lasse Bjerre.
However, Simmons believes his team of riders have been rocked by the departure of popular Australian Doolan, who has suffered an erratic start to the season, though it remains to be seen whether or not the decision will yield long-term benefits.
“I think the boys were shocked to hear that Kevin had left the team but they put in a good performance against Berwick and won well,” said Simmons.
“Leicester have had a change of manager (Glyn Taylor replacing Jason Attwood) halfway through the season and I think their team are trying to impress.
“They had a rough time last season but they have seemed to have turned it around this time.
“Lasse Bjerre went there at the start of the season and while he was probably not doing as well as he would have expected at the start of the season, he seems to have improved and he will be their danger man.”
Witches Line-up: Taylor Poole, Dakota North, Leigh Lanham, Mat Tresarrieu, Rohan Tungate, Cameron Heeps, Morten Risager.
Leicester Lions: Magnus Karlsson, Linus Ekl?f, Lasse Bjerre, Jan Graversen, Kauko Nieminen, Jari M�kinen, Lewis Blackbird