Bird forced to miss cup final second leg
DANNY Bird will be on a mission tonight - desperate to make up for having to miss the second leg of Ipswich Evening Star Witches' Knock-Out Cup final.He is intent on making a big impact - if it proves to be his last meeting in a Witches race jacket.
DANNY Bird will be on a mission tonight - desperate to make up for having to miss the second leg of Ipswich Evening Star Witches' Knock-Out Cup final.
He is intent on making a big impact - if it proves to be his last meeting in a Witches race jacket.
A vital member of the Witches' speedway side, Bird confirmed today that he would not make the return at Wimborne Road, Poole on Sunday, October 31.
His Premier League club, Reading, is staging the Euphony Classic that night and the rider, who will be 25 next month, will be taking part in that.
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The Ipswich meeting at Poole starts at 2pm, four hours before the Reading event. “I shall not attempt to do both,” said Bird. “I have tried that before and it is too much.
“There is always tonight and I will be doing all I can to make up for missing the second leg with a big score. If I can help Ipswich to a double figure lead I am sure the rest of the boys will complete the job at Poole.”
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Bird would have ridden last night when the planned away leg was due to take place, but the Wimborne Road circuit was waterlogged and tonight's meeting at Foxhall Stadium (start 7.30pm) becomes the first leg.
His absence on October 31 - the last day of the speedway season - will be a huge blow to Ipswich who will hope to draft in Stoke's Paul Pickering to take his place.
Bird's future with Ipswich is in the balance - and this could be his final meeting for the Witches.
He said: “The rules change from year to year, but if I am able to continue as a double-up rider then I would like to do so.
“If I have to pick either the Elite or the Premier League then I will make my choice at the time.”
Poole originally planned to re-stage their leg of the KO Cup final next Wednesday and Bird would have missed that date as well as Reading are due to ride at Hull in the Young Shield final that night.
Witches team manager Mike Smillie said: “It is a big blow to lose Danny, but we must forget about that for the time being and concentrate on building up a big lead tonight.
“We have beaten Poole twice 50-43 at home this year, and that will not be good enough tonight. A 12-point lead or more would be nice.
“Overall our riders ride Wimborne Road better than Poole riders ride Foxhall and every rider will be a key man this evening.
“We did consider tinkering with our riding order, but we know that for most of the season we have performed just as well as Poole.”