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Louis admits Witches face a tough start to the season as pundits tip Ipswich for the top

Ipswich Witches 2017. Clockwise from bottom left Kyle Newman, Connor Mountain, Rory Schlein,  Nico Covatti, Cameron Heeps, Danyon Hume and in centre Danny King (captain), pictured at the Ipswich Speedway studio shoot at Ipswich Sports Club, Henley Road. Photo: STEVE WALLER

Ipswich Witches 2017. Clockwise from bottom left Kyle Newman, Connor Mountain, Rory Schlein, Nico Covatti, Cameron Heeps, Danyon Hume and in centre Danny King (captain), pictured at the Ipswich Speedway studio shoot at Ipswich Sports Club, Henley Road. Photo: STEVE WALLER

© Copyright Stephen Waller

Ipswich Witches director of speedway, Chris Louis admits his side faces a ‘tough start to the season’ when the tapes go up at Foxhall on Saturday night.

The Suffolk side entertain Sheffield Tigers in both side’s opening Championship clash of the season.

The Yorkshire side are, along with the Witches, many pundits’ favourites for success this season. Hitting the ground running with a solid victory would be a superb start to the 2017 season for Louis.

“We appear to be one of the favourites, according to many,” Louis said.

“Yes, I can see why, this is certainly one of the best, if not the best, Witches septets we have put together since we moved into the Premier League, now Championship.

“Everyone is expecting us to do well, but it’s a long season and much can happen.”

The Suffolk side held their press day at Ipswich Sports Club today, but practice was cancelled with the weather inclement.

That allowed the riders to continue to bond, as they played squash during the afternoon. The team are hoping to get on track tomorrow and Thursday afternoon, ahead of Saturday night’s opener.

“The back end of the season was good for us, but we can’t afford to start as poorly as we did last year,” Louis continued.

“It’s a difficult start to the season for us, with two Championship clashes with Sheffield and a knock-out cup home and away clash with Berwick.

“But we’ve enjoyed a good get together today and had a good chat about the season ahead.”

The Witches will be led once again by Danny King, British Champion and the team’s No.1

He got his season up and running with a paid 12-point maximum against Peterborough on Sunday and was delighted with the way his opening meeting of the season went.

“It was a good afternoon for me at Peterborough,” King, who was riding for Coventry at the weekend, said.

“I felt really good, it was a nice start.”

King will lead the side in 2017, along with fellow heat leaders Rory Schlein and Nico Covatti. Covatti, who joined the Witches two seasons ago and saw his average leap from four to seven points, is hoping to have a more consistent 2017.

“I’m very focussed at Ipswich, so I was a bit disappointed I was not more consistent last year,” he said.

Ipswich Town manager Mick McCarthy says he is looking forward to seeing how Norwich City do on a reduced budget next season ahead of the two teams meeting at Carrow Road tomorrow (12pm).

Ipswich Town travel to old rivals Norwich City looking for their first win since 2009 in the East Anglian derby tomorrow at 12 noon – here’s how the betting looks for the big clash.

Keeping James Maddison quiet will be key if Ipswich Town are to end Norwich City’s East Anglian Derby dominance tomorrow - and Cole Skuse is up for the task.

We have assembled a group of Town fans to predict the outcome of Ipswich games and have their say on what’s going on at Portman Road.

In this week’s Town nostalgia, we take a look back to February 2006, when Ipswich last won at Carrow Road – as ‘Canary Crusher’ Danny Haynes struck a controversial late winner to take the honours in the East Anglian derby.

Ipswich Town boss Mick McCarthy says he’d love to deliver an East Anglian derby victory for the club’s long-suffering fans on Sunday lunchtime (12pm).

Norwich boss Daniel Farke has lavished praise on ‘brilliant gentleman’ Mick McCarthy ahead of this weekend’s East Anglian Derby at Carrow Road.

David McGoldrick returns to the Ipswich Town squad for this weekend’s clash with rivals Norwich but the Canaries are dealing with injuries to key players heading into the game.

The second East Anglian derby of the season is almost here with Ipswich Town crossing the border to face rivals Norwich City at Carrow Road on Sunday lunchtime (12pm).

Ipswich Town have not beaten rivals Norwich since a 3-2 victory in 2009, in what proved to be Jim Magilton’s final game in charge. Andy Warren looks at the side who turned out for the Blues that day.

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