Ipswich Witches face Somerset Rebels in must-win Premier League clash

Ritchie Hawkins, right, and Adam Ellis will be in action tonight

Ritchie Hawkins, right, and Adam Ellis will be in action tonight - Credit: Picture: Steve Waller

Somerset’s last visit to Foxhall saw them return to the West Country with their tails between their legs, following a 65-25 KO Cup humbling.

Promoter Chris Louis would love a similar performance tonight but, with the Witches’ season continuing to take one step forward and two steps back, he is unlikely to be afforded such a straightforward evening.

“Any sort of victory will do right now,” said Louis.

“We can’t afford to lose and last week’s draw at home to Glasgow was a massive blow. We can’t afford to slip up.”

Louis will field a full strength team for the visit of the Rebels with Gino Manzares (pictured) set to ride through the pain barrier after damaging his shoulder blade during a couple of hard falls in Round One of the World U21 Championship at Lonigo last Saturday.

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“Gino has been seeing the physio every day this week. He is riding tonight and is going to have to put up with a bit of pain, although there is no lasting damage,” said Louis.

“We can’t afford not to have him at home as that is where his strongest performances have come.”

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Witches sit second in the Premier League, but Louis’ team have lost seven away meetings already this season and several teams below them have a number of fixtures in hand.

The Witches are running out of chances to ensure they will be challenging for a play-off place at the end of the campaign.

“Looking at our away form we have been pretty hit and miss, so it is crucial that we pick up maximum points at home,” insisted Louis.

“All the riders are determined to put things right. We have not reached anything near our potential and we have to be more consistent.”

Ipswich Speedway Supporters Club will be holding their annual collection for this very worthy cause with riders helping out with the collecting during the interval (weather & mechanical issues permitting) plus there will be buckets on the exit gates.

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