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Kings of Anglia Issue 9 Magazine Offer

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

Witches Director of Speedway Chris Louis, left, and team manager Ritchie Hawkins plot the team's KOC final hopes

Witches Director of Speedway Chris Louis, left, and team manager Ritchie Hawkins plot the team's KOC final hopes

© 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Both Josh Graczjonek and Josh Bates were withdrawn from the meeting in Scotland after suffering crashes.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

Captain Luke Chambers wants his Ipswich Town future sorted sooner rather than later but knows the club’s precarious position means he may have to be patient.

Paul Lambert believes striker Ellis Harrison has something to offer his side as the Welshman works towards full fitness.

Callum Connolly expects to take on an Ipswich Town side ‘playing with freedom’ when he makes his return to Portman Road tomorrow afternoon.

Oxford United boss Karl Robinson wants to sign Ipswich Town loanee Jordan Graham as soon as the January transfer window opens.

Ipswich Town take on a Wigan Athletic side including a number of familiar faces tomorrow. ANDY WARREN takes a look.

Ipswich Town’s East Anglian Derby visit to Norwich City will be shown live on Sky Sports.

Today we start a special countdown to Christmas, Ipswich Town style, with the 12 Greats of Christmas - a rundown of the 12 greatest Town players who’ve ever laced on boots, culminating on the big day itself with the Blues’ best-ever.

Ipswich Town have taken up their option to extend Freddie Sears’ contract until the summer of 2020.

Jon Nolan is back in the team under Paul Lambert. STUART WATSON spoke to the midfielder about Paul Hurst’s sacking, stepping up to the Championship and the visit of Wigan.

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