Witches head west tonight

IPSWICH Witches team boss Pete Simmons is appealing to his reserve duo of Ritchie Hawkins and Jerran Hart to come up with the goods tonight.

Hawkins is replacing knee injury victim Chris Mills in the Witches side this evening, as the Suffolk side make the long trek to Plymouth.

The reserve positions are so key to winning speedway meetings, but Ipswich have blown hot and cold in this department all season.

Indeed on visiting circuits especially, rarely have both Witches reserves fired together, a situation that if it had happened more often, Simmons is convinced it would have seen the Suffolk side pick up more than their solitary one away victory so far.

“Time and time again we have made home reserves look good when we have travelled to other tracks,” he said.

“Jerran and Chris have both had good meetings, but rarely have they fired together and certainly on away tracks. It would make such a difference if they could both come up with six or seven points each on the same night.

“We would have picked up far more wins away from home than we have.

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“Hopefully Jerran and Ritchie can do that for us tonight.”

The Witches travel to Plymouth to face the league’s basement club.

However, just as so many clubs are doing, the Devils have made significant personnel changes in the last couple of weeks – American Ricky Wells and Italian Gino Franchetti being brought into the squad.

They beat Redcar at home last week in an exciting last-heat decider and the small Cornish track means getting out of the start is crucial.

“I’ve heard the track is small and starting will obviously be crucial,” Simmons added.

“It’s so difficult to say how we are going to do because we are so inconsistent, yet all our riders are so capable.”

The Witches will be using the rider replacement for broken hand victim Taylor Poole tonight, although Poole is expected to make the trip to support the side in the pits.

Plymouth No.1 Ben Barker is one of the League’s top riders and was part of the England World Cup team.

With the second phase of Premier League clashes coming up and Poole out injured for at least three weeks, it is highly likely the Witches management will make moves to bring in a new rider or two as their injury woes continue.

Tonight’s teams

Plymouth: 1 B Barker, 2 L Smart, 3 J Kristiansen, 4 H Stichauer, 5 R Wells, 6 K Hughes, 7 G Franchetti

Ipswich: 1 K Doolan, 2 R/R, 3 M Tresarrieu, 4 M Risager, 5 L Bjerre, 6 J Hart, 7 R Hawkins