Simmons happy to see Witches in Premier League
IPSWICH Witches team manager Pete Simmons would be happy to see the Foxhall Stadium-based speedway club ride in the Premier League next season.
He’ll be taking charge of his team for the visit to Wolverhampton tonight (start 7.30pm) saying: “Where would most fans want us to be – fighting for honours in the top two or three in the Premier League or fighting to avoid the wooden spoon in the Elite League?
“I know what most of them would say.
“And I have to agree.
“Three years ago I would not have said so, but now I feel differently with British speedway needing a big shake-up.
“We are fighting against the Grand Prix series at Elite League level and supporters can soon lose their weekly speedway habit when there are so many breaks.
“The Premier League must have it right with no clubs wanting to come up, and they were able to carry on last week when we were ‘shut down’ because of the World Cup.
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“If we drop down we get a meeting every week and a different club every week and the continuity that we badly need.”
Pressure will be put on Ipswich to stay put as the Elite League would struggle to function with less than their current quota of nine clubs. And there is the issue of a lucrative Sky Sports TV sponsorship deal.
“At the end of the day it is up John and Chris Louis,” added Simmons, whose side are cast adrift at the foot of the table.
“And doubling up at the top and bottom of the team might be an answer so we can use Scott Nicholls, and have Tomasz Gollob or Jarek Hampel say for eight or night meetings each.
“We thought we had our best team for three years last March, but it hasn’t worked out.
“Wolves will give us a tough test and if we can gain a point we will have done well.
“We’re going there looking for something and to pull ourselves away from the foot of the table if possible between now and the end of the season.”
Simmons is not impressed by the demise of Mildenhall this year with Witches assets Ollie Rayson and Joe Jacobs on the Fen Tigers National League books.
“We’re looking for those two to gain experience and then come into our fold,” said Simmons. “But not riding is doing nobody any favours.”
Chris Slabon and Kozza Smith are set to make their return to the Ipswich team tonight after taking the places of Olly Allen and Carl Wilkinson respectively in the squad two weeks ago.
Wolves had Fredrik Lindgren, Tai Woffinden and Nicolai Klindt riding in the weekend’s World Cup final, while the Witches had Scott Nicholls with Daniel King also in the Great Britain party.
Tonight’s likely line-ups
Wolves: F Lindgren, T Proctor, N Klindt, A Skornicki, T Woffinden, M Wethers, L Lindgren.
Ipswich: S Nicholls, C Slabon, D King, A Dryml, R Miskowiak, D Stachyra, K Smith.