Smillie says Scott is ideal for Witches

SCOTT Nicholls could be the Ipswich Witches trump card when they complete their Craven Shield qualifying round with meetings at Foxhall Stadium tonight (start 7.30pm).

By Elvin King

SCOTT Nicholls could be the Ipswich Witches trump card when they complete their Craven Shield qualifying round with meetings at Foxhall Stadium tonight (start 7.30pm) and at Eastbourne on Saturday.

Nicholls, who was booed by some sections of the crowd when a member of the Coventry side at Ipswich earlier this season, replaces Piotr Protasiewicz who is officially classed as withholding his services.

Nicholls, the Ipswich-raised top British rider, agreed to sign for Coventry shortly after having a highly-successful testimonial meeting at Ipswich in August 2005.

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This upset some Witches fans, but Nicholls can never be accused of riding half throttle and he will be up for keeping alive Ipswich's dreams of ending the season with some silverware.

They finished just one point behind Eastbourne in the first leg at Wolverhampton on Monday, and if they can build up a good lead tonight they will have every chance of topping the group after the final leg at Eastbourne on Saturday.

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While the wounded Wolves will be dangerous as they look to get themselves back in the frame, the Eagles from Eastbourne often fly around Foxhall - winning an Elite League meeting two weeks ago.

Having lost their last two home meetings and their last seven Elite League matches of the year, Ipswich will need to be at their best.

They bring in Oxford's Adam Skornicki for the injured Chris Louis, with the Pole also guesting at Wolves on Monday. Hopes to include Coventry's Chris Harris were dashed when 'Bomber' injured himself on Monday.

Mike Smillie, the Ipswich team manager, has no doubts about the booking of former Ipswich skipper Nicholls.

“Scott is the ideal choice,” said Smillie. “I know he has no axe to grind with Ipswich or our fans and he has a big part to play over our next two meetings.”

Wolves will have a guest for the injured Peter Karlsson and they have given Magnus Karlsson the week off as he prepares to become a father.

The admission price tonight has been increased by £1 as there will be an extra three heats from the normal 15 for league meetings.

Tonight's line-up

Ipswich: S Nicholls, K Jansson, R Miskowiak, A Skornicki, M Loram, D King.

Wolves: AN Other, R Correy, B Hamill, C Hefenbrock, F Lindgren, W Lawson.

Eastbourne: A Shields, D Barker, N Pedersen, L Bridger, D Norris, E Kennett.

Scores after the first round at Wolverhampton: Eastbourne 38, Ipswich 37, Wolves 33.

TONIGHT is believed to be the first time a woman will officially taken charge of a speedway meeting at Foxhall Stadium. Barbara Horley has assisted at Foxhall before, but is the sole official tonight. Margaret Vardy was referee in the first leg at Wolverhampton on Monday.

DANIEL King, Tobi Kroner and Steve Boxall are all unavailable for the third leg on Saturday at Eastbourne. Ipswich squad member Carl Wilkinson will ride at No. 6, while Scott Nicholls will continue to deputise for Piotr Protasiewicz and Chris Harris will replace Chris Louis.

IPSWICH have arranged their annual 16-Lap Classic meeting for next Thursday, October 5.

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