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Fixtures out tomorrow and team boss Ritchie Hawkins expects Ipswich Witches to be among the favourites

PUBLISHED: 12:21 23 January 2018 | UPDATED: 12:21 23 January 2018

Witches team manager Ritchie Hawkins, expects his side to be among the title favourites again in 2018. Photo: STEVE WALLER

Witches team manager Ritchie Hawkins, expects his side to be among the title favourites again in 2018. Photo: STEVE WALLER

© Copyright Stephen Waller

Ipswich Witches team boss Ritchie Hawkins admits he expects his side to be among the Championship favourites again this season.

Back from injury in 2108 for the Witches, Nico Covatti Back from injury in 2108 for the Witches, Nico Covatti

The Foxhall side are set to announce their 2018 fixture list tomorrow and with that will come the expectation of many of another good season on the Heath.

The Witches fell short of silverware in 2017, but reached both the Play-off final and Knock-out cup final. It was a season to remember and, with many of last season’s riders returning again in 2018, Hawkins is looking forward to the year ahead.

“We’ll certainly be among the favourites again, I don’t doubt that,” Hawkins said.

“It’s interesting again how teams have built their teams.

Connor Mountain, left and Danyon Hume, Witches young reserves in 2018. Hume returning from injury. Connor Mountain, left and Danyon Hume, Witches young reserves in 2018. Hume returning from injury.

MORE: Connor Mountain gearing up for big 2018

“Some have gone for solidity throughout, while teams like us and Glasgow, who have Chris Harris and Richie Worrall, look strong at the top end.

Witches No. 1 and captain Danny King and Witches team manager Ritchie Hawkins - studying the 2018 fixtures? Witches No. 1 and captain Danny King and Witches team manager Ritchie Hawkins - studying the 2018 fixtures?

“Apart from anything else, it’s important we have a successful season.

“There are 10 Championship league fixtures, two League Cup fixtures and a knock-out cup meeting already in. We want to progress on all fronts to build that fixture list up.

“So, it’s very much up to the riders to do the business. I know they will.”

The Witches and their fans enjoyed 2017 despite the disappointment of not quite getting over the finish line.

The team spirit in the home camp was key to much of what was achieved, something Hawkins was grateful for.

“We had great team spirit,” he said.

MORE: Hawkins backs new German star, Michael Haertel

“The only time it went down was when Justin Sedgmen was struggling and it affected him and the rest of the team in many ways. But that was all. In fact, if it hadn’t been for our team spirit, we wouldn’t have got through last year.

“But that’s behind us now and we are looking ahead. We must remember of course we have two riders coming back from injury (Nico Covatti and Danyon Hume) and Michael Haertel is new to Britain.”

The Witches are in the same League Cup group as Lakeside and Peterborough, while they ride the winners of the KO Cup first round clash between Peterborough and Lakeside in round two.

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