Ipswich Witches boss Ritchie Hawkins says his team can lay down a play-off marker

Ritchie Hawkins, nearest with back to camera holds a team meeting last week during the Witches v Red

Ritchie Hawkins, nearest with back to camera holds a team meeting last week during the Witches v Redcar meeting at the interval. The Witches face a big week ahead. Photo: STEVE WALLER - Credit: Picture: Steve Waller

Ipswich Witches team boss Ritchie Hawkins has told his side to ‘lay down a marker’ to fellow play-off contenders as the Suffolk side face a hectic week on the road.

The Witches entertain Berwick Bandits at Foxhall tonight in their final home regular Championship fixture of the season, before tough away trips to Edinburgh (tomorrow), Sheffield, on Sunday, and Glasgow, next Wednesday, the three teams set to be fellow play-off challengers with the Witches.

It’s a tough assignment on their travels, but should the Witches beat Berwick this evening, they at least guarantee their play-off place, which takes the pressure off the hectic away-day schedule.

“We have to see Berwick off first and I’m confident we can do that,” Hawkins said.

“Then it’s a case of laying down a marker at these tracks. We don’t want to go to Edinburgh, Sheffield or Glasgow and get thrashed.

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“This is a great chance for us to race at their places before the play-offs. We already know we have Sheffield in the KO Cup semi-finals and my educated guess would be that it is likely to be Glasgow in the play-off semis.

“That means we need to go to these places and give them something to remember us by, not get turned over easily.”

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The Witches have enjoyed a fine season, bearing in mind the injuries to Kyle Newman, Nico Covatti and Danyon Hume, they suffered at the start of the campaign.

Covatti and Hume have still not returned to the track and with Covatti’s replacement Justin Sedgmen and now Cameron Heeps nursing shoulder problems, the team has done well to keep the show on the road.

“The team have done great, but that is what I would expect and it’s going down to the wire,” Hawkins said.

“I don’t know when either Justin or Cam will be back. But we have got good guests lined up and it is a chance for them to show us what they can do in case we need to book them further.”

Lewis Kerr, a well-known face at Foxhall, is Heeps’ replacement tonight, while Thomas Jorgensen gets the gig at Edinburgh.

“We know we may have to go into the play-offs with a guest rider, so we are trying a few riders out who we know can do the business,” Hawkins said.

The meeting tonight at Foxhall starts at 7.30pm.

Inside: Danny King column

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