'Ritchie puts team before anyone else'... Witches star King hits out at social media posts
© Copyright Stephen Waller
Ipswich Witches skipper Danny King has jumped to the defence of team boss Ritchie Hawkins after social media posts suggested their friendship was getting in the way of team decisions.
Hawkins and King have been good pals for many years and King was in flying form at Peterborough on Monday night, smashing the track record, as the Witches won their first Premiership meeting of the season.
Tonight they entertain Poole Pirates at Foxhall Stadium, 7.30pm, in a Supporters' Cup clash.
But it was what occurred at Poole in the reverse fixture last week where a struggling King was not taken out of any of his four rides, ending the night with just a point, that got some commenting that Hawkins got it wrong - King should have been dropped from a race - and their friendship was to blame. The Witches lost by two.
"I can assure anyone out there Ritchie puts the team before anyone else," King said.
"Our friendship is irrelevant.
"People can have their opinions, I have no problem with that, I'm a professional sportsman, it comes with the territory.
"At Poole I was in loads of scoring positions but had a frustrating night of falls.
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"The team bonding Ritchie has created is superb and it showed at Peterborough on Monday when at last we got something on the road, because it's been coming.
"But he'll make decisions that are in the team's interests, not mine, or any other rider's personal ones."
The Witches entertain a Poole side tonight who still have a chance of toppling Swindon at the top of the Southern section of the Supporters' Cup group.
Ipswich must win to keep their slim hopes alive.
Meanwhile, Hawkins knows it will be a tough test tonight.
"Our confidence is increasing every week and we need to keep winning and keep that up," he said.
"I think Poole have a very good side coming to our place and it will be a really tough meeting, probably the toughest we have had so far.
"We will need to be on top of our game, if we let our standards drop a bit they will beat us."
The Pirates will be boosted with Scott Nicholls in their ranks, the former Witch in as a guest for Brady Kurtz, who is riding in Sweden.
Ipswich are currently top of the Premiership and entertain Wolverhampton on Monday in a meeting being shown live on BT Sport.