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Rory Schlein rallies Ipswich Witches ahead of big play-off clash tonight

Rory Schlein (left) and Danny King, lead the Witches play-off hopes tonight at Foxhall Stadium. PICTURE: STEVE WALLER

Rory Schlein (left) and Danny King, lead the Witches play-off hopes tonight at Foxhall Stadium. PICTURE: STEVE WALLER

© Copyright Stephen Waller

Ipswich Witches Aussie star Rory Schlein says the key to play-off success is ‘no last places’, writes Henry Chard.

The Suffolk side entertain Edinburgh Monarchs at Foxhall Stadium tonight (7.30pm) in a Championship semi-final, first leg, play-off clash. The second leg is in Scotland tomorrow night.

And having won the treble with Coventry Bees in 2007, ‘Rooboy’ knows what it takes to taste success. And as obvious as it sounds, keeping yourself out of last place is crucial, according to the Darwin-born racer.

“Our motto at Coventry that year was ‘no last places’,” he said.

“With no last places you can’t get a heat advantage against you.

“That was it, we simply made sure we were riding for every single point.

“OK, it depends on the style of the meeting as well and where you are at. I can go pretty well at Edinburgh and it will all depend on how the boys are feeling on the night.

“At home we should be OK, but we know Sam (Masters) goes well round Ipswich and the Riss brothers too.

“But if we ride to our capability and potential, then we should win at home.”

Schlein, who is also in the Premiership play-offs with Wolverhampton, says team spirit in the Witches camp is high and riding for the team in 2017 has been a real pleasure.

“It has been one of the most enjoyable sides I have ridden in for a long time,” said Schlein.

“There are a lot of characters and we all get on really well and I couldn’t have asked for a better team.

“Even if you have a bad meeting all the lads pick you back up, even the young fellas are part of the banter and the morale of the whole team all year has been great.

“It has been a fun feeling all year round and we are always taking the mickey out of each other and I think having our backs to the wall, especially with injuries, has been key to keeping a smile on our faces and pushing through the tough times and getting results.”

The Witches will want to take as big a lead as possible to Scotland tomorrow night but know the Monarchs will be a tough nut to crack. Indeed they were the only team to defeat the Suffolk side on home shale this year – after the Witches blew a 12-point lead.

In the other Championship semi-final, first leg, tonight, Sheffield entertain Glasgow.

Emyr Huws is excited by the chance to repay the faith shown in him by Mick McCarthy and the Ipswich Town fans after returning from an injury he admits ‘messed with his head’.

Teenage midfield duo Flynn Downes and Tristan Nydam must compete for their places now senior players are returning to fitness, says Ipswich Town manager Mick McCarthy.

Fit-again Teddy Bishop is ready to play the role of super sub for Ipswich Town, says boss Mick McCarthy.

Ipswich Town boss Mick McCarthy is ‘absolutely not’ seeking retrospective punishment for Sheffield Wednesday defender Glenn Loovens following his nasty challenge on David McGoldrick on Wednesday night.

Mick McCarthy is set to field ‘a few fresh faces’ when Ipswich Town face Aston Villa tomorrow, while he hinted at a start for Emyr Huws.

Following the news David McGoldrick faces a month out with a groin injury, sports writer Andy Warren looks at the arguements four and against Mick McCarthy’s potential replacement options.

Ipswich Town take on Aston Villa, at Villa Park, in a Championship match tomorrow (3pm ko).

Bartosz Bialkowski expects the return of midfielder Emyr Huws to give Ipswich Town a real boost as the Blues prepare for Saturday’s clash with Aston Villa.

Adam Webster has admitted he feared for his future as injury threatened to disrupt his second season at Ipswich, but now believes he’s finally hitting his stride at Portman Road.

Ipswich Town forward David McGoldrick is expected to be sidelined for a month after today undergoing surgery on a deep cut in his groin.

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