Ipswich Witches manager Ritchie Hawkins issues rallying cry ahead of play-off final with Sheffield Tigers
PUBLISHED: 12:10 27 September 2017 | UPDATED: 12:10 27 September 2017
© Copyright Stephen Waller
Ipswich Witches team boss Ritchie Hawkins says there is no doubt over Cameron Heeps' fitness.
The 21-year-old Perth-based Aussie has been out of the Suffolk side for more than a month with a shoulder injury, picked up in a Championship clash with Peterborough last month.
But Heeps returns to the Witches fold in what is their biggest meeting of the season so far, as the Foxhall side head to Sheffield tomorrow night in the first leg of the Championship play-off final.
Hawkins admits Heeps has been champing at the bit to return – but he only does so because he’s 100% fit.
“If I had any reason to worry about Cam’s fitness he wouldn’t be racing,” Hawkins said.
“This is the Championship play-off final. I’m not taking risks with any rider.
“Cam wanted to ride against Edinburgh last week, but I said no, take another week out and get it completely right.
“It’s not as if Cam’s been missing for three months or so.
“He’s had lots of practise in the last couple of weeks.”
However, the Witches do head to Yorkshire without Connor Mountain, who was another to damage his shoulder in a crash at Stoke at the weekend. It is a huge blow for the amiable teenager, who has been in fine form for the Witches at reserve, especially in recent weeks.
It means the Witches will be using Peterborough’s Tom Bacon at reserve.
“We have tried to get some Championship experience in and hopefully Tom can do a good job at Sheffield,” said Hawkins.
“His form has improved as the season has gone on and he has learnt well.”
Meanwhile, the Tigers suffered a double injury scare as they booked their place in the final with an aggregate win at Glasgow on Tuesday night.
Both Josh Graczjonek and Josh Bates were withdrawn from the meeting in Scotland after suffering crashes.
Sheffield finished the regular season in top spot after an impressive campaign saw them win every home league meeting.
But Hawkins won’t be drawn on what would represent a good result at Owlerton tomorrow for the Suffolk side.
“We are going there to win, simple as that,” he said.
“If we start thinking 10, 12, 15-point loss is not too bad, that’s no good. We focus on winning.”
The second leg at Foxhall Stadium on Saturday starts at 7.30pm. Children under-15 go free.
Follow Mike Bacon on twitter tomorrow night as he brings you all the action LIVE from Owlerton... @Mike_Bacon