Lay-off could work against the Witches

TWO weeks since their last Elite League clash, Ipswich Evening Star Witches go in search of points in Manchester tonight, hoping to get their season back on the road.

Mike Bacon

TWO weeks since their last Elite League clash, Ipswich Evening Star Witches go in search of points in Manchester tonight, hoping to get their season back on the road.

Still fourth in the table, the Witches have been devoid of track action for a month.

It is a sad state of affairs that, just as the tempo was rising for the Suffolk side, the fixture list has curtailed their hopes of maintaining momentum.


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Tonight's meeting at Belle Vue, which is being shown live on Sky Sports, gives the Witches a chance to get proceedings back on track.

However, similar to their last meeting on Sky against Poole, the action lay-off could well work against them.

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Belle Vue are pulling up few trees in the Elite League this season, but they have notable home wins over Swindon and Poole, so are sure to give the Witches a tough examination.

They rode twice last week and, unlike the Witches, have enjoyed a fairly steady stream of fixtures.

Jason Lyons will replace Joe Screen, who damaged his shoulder and back in a heavy fall during the Knockout Cup exit at Coventry.

Screen is still very sore and concussed after a crash which involved Chris Harris.

Tonight, the Witches team is switched around as team boss Pete Simmons rings some changes, with Piotr Swiderski moving to No.1, with Jarek Hampel at three.

Simmons explains: “Jarek has had three last places on the trot in the opening heat, when riding at No.1 and it is not the start we will be looking for. And against Poole at Foxhall two weeks ago, we couldn't use Piotr Swiderski until heat 14 as a rider replacement, and by then the meeting was over.”

Swiderski, who guested for Belle Vue in the KO Cup at Coventry on Friday night, will be the Witches out and out No.1 when the new averages come into force in July, with Tobi Kroner dropping to reserve.

The Witches also entertain Peterborough on Thursday night and two victories in the next four days would put them in a fantastic position. However, two defeats and the alarm bells will start ringing.

Tonight's teams

Belle Vue: 1 Jason Crump, 2 Billy Forsberg, 3 Charlie Gjedde, 4 R/R, 5 Jason Lyons, 6 Nick Simmons, 7 Jonas Raun.

Ipswich: 1 Piotr Swiderski, 2 Tobi Kroner, 3 Jarek Hampel, 4 R/R, 5 Robert Miskowiak, 6 Steve Johnston, 7 Chris Schramm.

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