Hilton knows Witches are ‘hurting’ and want to put it right

Danny King takes the checkered flag to win heat one of the Ipswich v Rye House (League Cup) meeting

Danny King takes the checkered flag to win heat one of the Ipswich v Rye House (League Cup) meeting at Foxhall Stadium, Ipswich, Suffolk, UK on 23 April 2015. Picture: Steve Waller - Credit: Picture: Steve Waller

Ipswich ‘Sackers’ Witches boss Phil Hilton knows his side are ‘hurting’ and is hoping their character will shine through this weekend.

The Suffolk side head north today for a knock-out cup clash with Berwick tonight (7.30pm), and a Premier League clash at Newcastle tomorrow (6.30pm).

After the Bank Holiday Monday debacle at home to Sheffield, Hilton expects little will need to be said to the team as they look to bounce back with two strong performances.

“Let’s just get on with the next meeting,” Hilton said.

“Let’s put Monday to bed, be positive and get on with things this weekend. Results-wise of course it’s important, but the character of the team is what we will be looking at.

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“I know they are hurting and I’m sure they want to put things right.”

But it won’t be easy.

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The Witches travel to Berwick tonight minus Danny King (riding for Coventry) and Nico Covatti (in a World Team Cup qualifier for Italy) – their two in-form riders – as well as Gino Manzares, who is still injured.

Guests for the night are Richard Lawson (for King) and Robert Branford (for Covatti).

On paper that doesn’t strengthen the Witches but Berwick too are missing two of their main stars, Danes, Claus Vissing and Thomas Jorgensen, who have been recalled to ride in a Danish Championship meeting – rider replacement and Richie Worrall (guest) take their places.

“It’s intriguing” admitted Berwick co-promoter Dennis McCleary.

“Both teams seem to be equally changed, but not necessarily disadvantaged.”

Tonight’s teams

Bandits: 1 B Barker, 2 H Stichaeur, 3 K Doolan, 4 R/R, 5 R Worrall, 6 J Bates, 7 R Hall.

Witches: 1 R Lawson, 2 R/R 3 R Branford, 4 C Heeps, 5 R Tungate, 6. S Nielsen, 7 R Hawkins.

On Sunday the Witches head south to Newcastle in a Premier League fixture. Back to full strength with the return of King and Covatti, but still using rider replacement for Manzares, the Witches will be looking for their first League point of the season.

“We are as good as back to a full team on Sunday and as I have said all along, there is no reason we shouldn’t pick up something wherever we go,” Hilton said.

“I’m sure the determination will be doubled this weekend after the start we have made to our league season.

“It’s not about how you get knocked down, but how you get up from it.”

Tomorrow’s teams

Diamonds: 1 L Kerr, R/R, S Worrall, C Henry, L Lindgren, TBC, Simon Nielsen

Witches: 1 D King, 2 N Covatti 3 R/R, 4 C Heeps, 5 R Tungate, 6. Stef Nielsen, 7 R Hawkins.

Witches’ skipper Ritchie Hawkins failed to make the British Final. He scored three points in his semi-final at Sheffield, won by Chris Harris.

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