Messenger heaps praise on high-flying Witches ahead of quick-fire double clash with Sheffield who themselves are looking to continue their good form

Brian Messenger

Brian Messenger - Credit: Picture: Steve Waller

Ipswich ‘Sackers’ Witches team manager Brian Messenger, says the current Suffolk septet is the best senior side he has ever managed.

Messenger, who has proved an astute choice for manager after Chris Louis stepped down, takes his side to Sheffield tonight looking for more Premier League points to continue their healthy form – there is no meeting at Foxhall Heath this evening.

The two teams will however meet again at Foxhall on Saturday night. The Witches are already guaranteed a play-off position.

“I’ve been so impressed with these boys,” Messenger said.

“The team spirit is excellent, they all want to work for each other. In Ritchie Hawkins they have an excellent captain. It all helps and I just hope they win some silverware because after last season when it all went wrong, they deserve it.”

The Witches face a tough task tonight however, with the fast Owlerton bowl a track most of the Witches rarely race.

“Sheffield is always tough,” added Messenger.

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“It was always tough for Witches’ teams many years ago. Because both are Thursday night tracks, the teams only usually meet once a season at each track. I don’t think Gino (Manzares) has ridden there and Rohan (Tungate), Cameron (Heeps) and Adam (Ellis) haven’t ridden there much.

“But we are in good form and go there confident.”

Ipswich will have Adam Ellis racing for them this evening as parent club Lakeside’s Elite League clash tonight at Swindon is a re-arranged one.

But Ellis will be missing from the return at Foxhall on Saturday – with Lakeside again in action – Marc Owen will take his place at No.7.

Tonight, Joe Screen’s Sheffield side hope to welcome Leigh Lanham back and with Simon Stead and Josh Bates returning from illness and injury respectively, the Tigers’ recent problems are easing. The lowly Tigers look to make it three wins on the bounce at home.

Sheffield: S Stead, R/R, L Lanham, B Wilson, N Covatti, J Bates, T Poole.

Ipswich: R Worrall, R Hawkins, M Risager, G Manzares, R Tungate, C Heeps, A Ellis.

Mike’s prediction: Tigers 47 Witches 43

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