'Every rider will need to put in a performance'... Hawkins looks ahead to Robins' clash
© Copyright Stephen Waller
Ipswich Witches v Swindon Robins Premiership preview
WHEN AND WHERE…
The 'Tru Plant' Witches host Swindon Robins at Foxhall Stadium on Thursday night in a Premiership clash that starts at 7.30pm.
IPSWICH: 1. Niels-Kristian Iversen 7.38 2. Cameron Heeps 6.57 3. Chris Harris 6.16 4. Richard Lawson 6.57 5. Danny King 7.06 © 6. James Sarjeant 3.00 7. Jake Allen 5.84. Team Manager: Ritchie Hawkins
SWINDON: 1. Jason Doyle 8.93 © 2. Adam Ellis 6.45 3. Rasmus Jensen 7.70 4. Tobiasz Musielak 6.38 5. Troy Batchelor 8.37 6. Ellis Perks 3.00 7. Claus Vissing 4.43. Team Manager: Alun Rossiter
REFEREE: P. Carrington
Team Meetings Points
Swindon 21 42
Poole 20 42
Ipswich 22 39
Belle Vue 23 38
Wolverhampton 21 35
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King's Lynn 20 31
Peterborough 21 17
WHAT'S THE STORY?
The 'Tru Plant' Witches face a stern test on Thursday when they host league leaders Swindon at Foxhall in their final home meeting of the regular Premiership season.
Ipswich were in action last Thursday on home shale as they were defeated 43-47 by the Poole Pirates, a result that put their play-off place in jeopardy. The Robins were in town just three weeks ago when they recorded a 37-53 win at Foxhall, and it couldn't be a tougher fixture for the Witches who need to win to take one step closer to confirming their play-off place.
The Witches are hoping to be back to full strength with Cameron Heeps returning to the side following injury. The Australian was sorely missed in last week's defeat to the Pirates and there are few better than him at Foxhall. Should Heeps not make his return, rider replacement will be used at two. Niels-Kristian Iversen will be better for having a meeting under his belt on his new home track and he also scored 13 in last Saturday's Grand Prix in Germany, finishing fourth in the final.
Ipswich have held a play-off place for the entire season having performed well for the majority of the year. A recent drop in form means the pressure is now on to confirm their place in the top four. A big atmosphere is needed at Foxhall with everyone at the club knowing that a win against the high-flying Robins would see them all but qualify for the end of season shootout, it's time to perform.
FROM THE MANAGER…
'Tru Plant' Witches team manager Ritchie Hawkins looks ahead to Thursday's clash…
"Swindon are in great form at the right time and have a very good team. They battered us a few weeks ago, if we are honest about it. We have got a new line-up since then and we were better last week against Poole and showed signs of improvement. We don't want to be relying on other results so we need to get a victory on Thursday and to do that we will have to be at the very top of our game.
"We become quicker from the gate by having more belief in ourselves. I think that is the key, to believe in ourselves. We need to be confident, but it is hard to be confident when you have been on a poor run like we have. We need to be mentally strong and fight for a win.
"Every single rider will need to put in a performance on Thursday, not three or four ride well and leave the others to do the work. Every single of one of them needs to do their job. If we can do that, we can pull off a victory and we are quite capable of beating anyone. It is about getting that belief back in the side and building on those team changes with the new guys settled in a bit more now."
Swindon come to Foxhall as the league leaders and are in scintillating form. After a slow start to the campaign, they were sitting outside the play-off places heading into July without having won an away meeting. In 12 meetings since 2nd July, they have picked up points in every meeting, a run that has seen them rocket to the top of the Premiership and made them favourites for the title with many bookmakers. During this sequence of results the Robins have hammered both Ipswich and Peterborough at the Abbey, scoring 65 and 66 points against the two sides. The Wiltshire side also came to Suffolk last month and won convincingly for their first away win of the season. They will arrive at Foxhall feeling invincible, knowing that they are capable of another successful night.
Jason Doyle and Troy Batchelor are not only two of the best riders in the league, but they also seem to love coming to Foxhall. The pair both recorded paid maximums last month in their win and have proved too much to handle at the top end for Ipswich this season. Tobiasz Musielak has also taken a liking to conditions at Foxhall and has scored well on his visits this season, 10 and 10+1 whilst riding for the Robins. Swindon are a powerful outfit that will take some stopping in this form.