Witches' blow as they face top sides

TWO meetings in 48 hours against the country's top two sides and Ipswich Evening Star Witches are facing a crisis.Jarek Hampel (illness) and Robert Miskowiak (re-called to ride in Poland), will both be missing from the Witches line-up at table-topping Poole tonight, while Piotr Swiderski, still recovering from his frightening crash at Foxhall on Thursday, will be having a late fitness test dependent on how things went for him in Sweden last night.

Mike Bacon

TWO meetings in 48 hours against the country's top two sides and Ipswich Evening Star Witches are facing a crisis.

Jarek Hampel (illness) and Robert Miskowiak (re-called to ride in Poland), will both be missing from the Witches line-up at table-topping Poole tonight, while Piotr Swiderski, still recovering from his frightening crash at Foxhall on Thursday, will be having a late fitness test dependent on how things went for him in Sweden last night.

Miskowiak is also definitely out of the Witches team tomorrow night at Foxhall against second-placed Lakeside, with Hampel doubtful, although Swiderski is, as he is at Poole tonight, programmed to ride.


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It's all a bit of a disaster for the Witches as they attempt to squeeze into third place in the Elite League table and set up a mouth-watering local derby semi-final clash with Lakeside.

“What can I say?, commented Witches team manager Pete Simmons.

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“Jarek was suffering on Thursday and he has a doctor's note. It couldn't have come at a worse time with two big meetings ahead of us.

“Robert has been told in no uncertain terms by Ostrow that he has to practice on Wednesday and ride for them on Thursday in an important clash.

“We are sure Robert would rather ride for us, but in Poland it is best he does as he's told by his club. We can only use up to a six-point Premier League guest for him.

“As for Piotr, we are hoping he comes through in Sweden tonight and will be ok for Poole and at Foxhall.”

All in all it is just the build-up the Witches could have done without and although defeat at Poole tonight will hardly be a body blow, another home loss to Lakeside (who beat a Jarek Hampel-less Witches at Foxhall a month ago), could be disastrous.

Certainly third place and a trip to Lakeside is far more favourable than a clash with a strong Poole outfit in the play-off semi-finals.

And with Swindon having just one home and one away meeting left, the Witches, with meetings in hand, could pounce.

Tonight Coventry's Chris Harris will be hoping to repeat the form he showed at Poole back in May when the Witches pulled off a stunning 10-point victory at Wimborne Road, while Isle of Wight's James Holder is being lined up to replace Miskowiak tonight at Poole and tomorrow at Foxhall, although at time of going to press, he had not confirmed.

Poole will be without Davey Watt who damaged an ankle at Peterborough on Monday night, although it is not broken.

Tonight's teams

Poole: 1 C Holder, 2 M Zetterstrom, 3 B Pedersen, 4 A Skornicki, 5 R/R, 6 D Davidsson, 7 F Eriksson

Ipswich: 1 P Swiderski, 2 T Kroner, 3 C Harris, 4 J Holder or AN Other, 5 R Schlein,l 6 S Johnston, 7 C Schramm

RADIO Suffolk's Stephen Foster will be the new announcer at Foxhall Stadium next season. After the retirement, due to work commitments, of Kevin Long, Foster will front the PA coverage at the stadium, alongside Bryan Knights. Foster is a keen Witches fan and a regular attendee at Foxhall.

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