Cook: Hans is lucky to be wanted

JON Cook says that Hans Andersen is a lucky man.The Eastbourne team manager said after Ipswich Evening Star Witches had pulverised his side at Foxhall Stadium last night: “Ipswich showed what they can do without him.

By Elvin King

JON Cook says that Hans Andersen is a lucky man.

The Eastbourne team manager said after Ipswich Evening Star Witches had pulverised his side at Foxhall Stadium last night: “Ipswich showed what they can do without him.

“We were poor but suffered a backlash from the six Ipswich riders on show. Clubs will not be falling over themselves to take on Hans in the Elite League.


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“This is his last chance and he is lucky that Chris Louis and Scott Nicholls have both backed him this week.

“They are respected riders and they should not have to bow to Hans. It is Hans who should do any apologising.

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“He has upset Ipswich and England fans and I don't blame him for not riding at Eastbourne on Monday as feelings were running high.

“Hans is fortunate that Ipswich are prepared to take him back with no questions asked.”

Andersen, for his part, has denied any wrongdoing in the World Cup-deciding race last Saturday when Peter Karlsson passed him to win.

He says that he was suffering from a bruised finger on Monday. However, he rode the following night and crashed injuring his hand again, which meant he did not ride last night.

Scott Nicholls, also at the centre of the storm on Saturday, has confirmed that he will welcome Andersen back in the Ipswich side.

“If we want to do well then we need him,” said the skipper. “We must look forward and not

backward.”

Talking about his last heat battle with Nicki Pedersen last night he said: “Nicki is unhappy, but so is anybody who ends up on their backside.

“I don't know how I stayed on a couple of times during that race and he virtually had his arm on my shoulder seconds before he came off.”

Nicholls used the same engine that also helped him claim a maximum at Poole on Wednesday. And he is happy with the result of a cortisone injection that has virtually cleared up a painful knee problem.

“I can still feel a bit of pain sometimes,” said Nicholls. “But I am pleased I had the injection a few weeks ago.”

Paul Pickering must alter his plans next week. His Premier League club Stoke have no meetings, and the self-employed plumber has a busy schedule of work planned.

“If Ipswich want me at Belle Vue on Wednesday and at Foxhall the next day I will have to alter my plans,” said the 38-year-old.

“I really enjoyed myself tonight with a big crowd and a big win. The Foxhall track is similar to Stoke. This was great but I have no regrets about staying my entire career in the Premier League.

“It has been fun,” added the rider who last rode at Ipswich in 1995.

Witches' team manager Mike Smillie confirmed how important gaining the aggregate bonus point was.

He said: “If we had not taken it we would have had to win at Belle Vue to stay favourites to finish above Eastbourne and in third place.

“It has been a dreadful week for the club and this was a welcome result. Every rider did exceptionally well but I have to be pleased with Paul Pickering especially.”

And rising star Daniel King said: “To win the league we needed this. We were all up for it and it showed. My season has gone better than I dreamed - and there is plenty more to come.”

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