Premiership star backs Scott

IPSWICH Evening Star Witches have a new celebrity fan, with Charlton Athletic Premiershipfootballer Graham Stuart putting his support behind Scott Nicholls.

By Elvin King

IPSWICH Evening Star Witches have a new celebrity fan, with Charlton Athletic Premiership

footballer Graham Stuart putting his support behind Scott Nicholls.

Stuart was at the East of England showground yesterday to watch the Witches skipper score 14 points in the challenge match against Peterborough Panthers.

And the man who is hunting a Champions League place along with ex-Town footballers Matt Holland and Hermann Hreidarsson, plans to visit Foxhall Stadium soon.

Stuart said: “I want to see an English speedway world champion again and Scott is the rider best equipped to do it.

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“I started to follow his progress last season and will be giving him all the support I can.”

Stuart, who has been a special guest at televised speedway meetings, started his interest in the sport watching Wimbledon with his father while still at primary school.

“I love the sport and do all I can to make its appeal known to a wider audience,” added Stuart. “Scott has a special talent and I am sure he will go to the very top and be crowned the sport's top rider.”

Nicholls, who leads the Witches in their first Sky Sports Elite League match of the season at Belle Vue, Manchester tonight, said: “I first met Graham at the British Grand Prix in Cardiff last year. He loves speedway and can prove a great ambassador.”

Ipswich will be at full-strength tonight with Danny Bird available as his Premier League club Reading have no match. Their regular Monday home spot this week is taken over by a sidecar meeting.

The Witches had to ask permission from Aces promoter John Perrin to alter the programmed visiting team.

“John has agreed and we will be stronger because of it,” said Witches promoter John Louis. Trevor Harding was due to make his Ipswich debut at number seven with Kim Jansson moving to number two.

Now it will be an unchanged side from the one that beat Eastbourne at home on Thursday in the first round, first leg of the Knock-Out Cup.

Belle Vue finished one place above wooden spoonists Ipswich last season, but in Jason Crump and Joe Screen they have two international class riders. And Kenneth Bjerre has been a sensation so far this season.

Ipswich asset Toni Svab has struggled to find his best form. There is a feeling of anticipation that this might be Belle Vue's year, instead of flattering to deceive as they have in recent seasons.

But Perrin warned: “We want to kick-off our home campaign with a good show. My patience will not stretch so far this year if riders fail to come up to scratch.”