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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 new boy Dominic Iorfa believes his strongest position, in the long-term, will be centre-back.

Three of Ipswich Town’s summer signings are struggling to be fit for next Saturday’s Championship opener against Birmingham City, at Portman Road.

Ipswich Town manager Mick McCarthy says he will be restricted to signing a striker on loan due to the fact the Blues can’t compete financially with some of the ‘bonkers’ transfer fees being spent in the Championship.

Blues fans of all ages have gathered at Portman Road today to meet their heroes ahead of the start of the new season.

Huge queues are building up outside Portman Road this morning for today’s annual Ipswich Town Open Day.

The second tier season starts next Friday, however, clubs are working frantically to add to their squads, ahead of a long campaign. Several deals HAVE already been done though and CHRIS BRAMMER picks out six of the best.

Nearly 60 per cent of Ipswich Town fans would like to see Luke Chambers start in the heart of the Blues defence, alongside Adam Webster, when the Championship season begins next Saturday.

Ipswich Town manager Mick McCarthy says he is prepared to play a waiting game to sign the right striker before the transfer window shuts.

Ipswich Town boss Mick McCarthy won’t sacrifice results to satisfy supporters’ thirst for more attractive football at Portman Road this season.

Colchester United manager John McGreal insists his players still have a lot of room for improvement, ahead of the U’s League Two opener at Accrington Stanley, next Saturday.

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