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Kings of Anglia Issue 10 Magazine Offer

Smillie fires threat to Witches

PUBLISHED: 20:00 28 April 2003 | UPDATED: 13:48 03 March 2010

IPSWICH Evening Star Witches speedway riders will be riding under threat at Wolverhampton tonight.

Team manager Mike Smillie, who will be in the midlands on his own due to the injury to John Louis and television duties for Chris Louis, laid down the law before last week's defeat at Oxford.

IPSWICH Evening Star Witches speedway riders will be riding under threat at Wolverhampton tonight.

Team manager Mike Smillie, who will be in the midlands on his own due to the injury to John Louis and television duties for Chris Louis, laid down the law before last week's defeat at Oxford.

"The riders have responded and they now know the score. They realise they are riding for their livelihoods."

The Witches have tasted just one win in eight Sky Sports Elite League matches – and that was at home against Wolves.

Can they surprise a few people and pick up a victory against all the odds against the champions?

"We will certainly be giving it our best shot," added Smillie. "If we feel changes have to be made – and riders who we think can improve the side become available – then we will act."

Jarek Hampel rode for Wroclaw in a 45-45 draw in Gdansk on Friday but suffered a fall and damaged muscles in his arm. He took five rides and was paid for three points with three last places. Clearly unfit he missed yesterday's 38-22 victory over Bydgoszcz in a match finished early after rain arrived at heat eight.

Scott Nicholls rode for Wroclaw and was the centre of attention when he brought Tomasz Gollob crashing down in one race. Nicholls, who had scored 14 points at Gdansk, scored a paid eight points yesterday with Gollob in forgiving mood at the end of the ten-heat match.

"Scott has apologised and that is the end of the matter," said former Ipswich star Gollob.

While Hampel receives treatment in Poland, Chris Slabon flew in today after being paid for eight points on his debut for Zielona Gora yesterday.

Ipswich have considered Hans Andersen and Billy Janniro to replace Hampel tonight, but look like opting for the rider replacement facility.

Smillie said: "This means every rider can have an extra ride. We used a guest at Oxford last week and it back-fired."

Heat leader Paul Hurry, who like Daniel Nermark, was a member of the Wolves championship-winning side in 2002, is under pressure tonight. He has taken a while to recover from a kidney infection and was still in discomfort with his back last week.

He will be looking to kick start his season and said: "Things haven't been going that well for me and I know I have to start scoring more points."

Leigh Lanham rides at number six as Danny Bird will be with the Isle of Wight at Exeter. Lanham has been riding exceptionally well in the Premier League, and is hell-bent on re-producing his Arena-Essex form for Ipswich.

But so far he has found the jump up too much off a step, although he could play a big part tonight in his fourth Witches meeting of the season.

Wolves have only won one league match, against Peterborough at home. David Howe has declared himself fit after pulling out of Thursday's British Under-21 final at Sheffield after just two races complaining of pain in his wrist.

Tonight's line-ups

Wolverhampton: M Max, D Howe, S Ermolenko, A Skornicki, P Karlsson, J Grieves, M Karlsson.

Ipswich: Rider replacement, C Slabon, P Hurry, D Nermark, S Nicholls, L Lanham, TP Madsen.

n Ipswich have announced a fixture change with Eastbourne replacing King's Lynn at Foxhall Stadium on May 29. The Witches look like being at Coventry on Saturday week, May 10, instead of May 26.

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