Witches look to Howe to recreate magic

NEAR neighbours Arena Essex are the visitors to Foxhall Stadium tonight for a British League Cup clash against the Witches (start time 7.30pm).With no away winners in the group to date, if Ipswich are to qualify for the latter stages of this competition, then in all probability they will have to do so as group winners.

NEAR neighbours Arena Essex are the visitors to Foxhall Stadium tonight for a British League Cup clash against the Witches (start time 7.30pm).

With no away winners in the group to date, if Ipswich are to qualify for the latter stages of this competition, then in all probability they will have to do so as group winners.

That means that victory tonight is vital and although a tall order, the aggregate bonus point would be a distinct advantage.

Ipswich lost the corresponding clash at Purfleet 54-36 on July 25, so an advantage of at least 19 points is the target.

With the unfortunate hand injury to Swede Tim Jansson last Thursday, when he broke the top knuckle on his ring finger, the Witches have had to re-declare their BL Cup squad, to field tonight's team.

Jarek Hampel is set to ride in his first BL Cup meeting and returns to the side after missing Monday's defeat at Belle Vue.

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He will be partnered at number two by Ben Howe, who has moved up from the reserve berth to accommodate Matthew Wright.

Howe has not enjoyed the best of form in his meetings for the Witches this year, despite doing well for Mildenhall in the Conference League.

If the former Foxhall favourite could conjure up some of his past magic then it would certainly give the Witches a boost.

Freddy Eriksson arrives at number three with fellow Swede Daniel Nermark at number four and Paul Hurry at five.

Daniel King completes the side at six and will be hoping for a cooler meeting than he had against Rye House two weeks ago.

On that occasion his machine caught fire at the starting tapes in his first ride and he had to leap off before racing the remainder of the meeting on his second bike.

Team manager Mike Smillie is set to resume his team managing duties after he continues to recover from injuries sustained in a car crash on Saturday.

He was unable to travel to Manchester on Monday, but confirmed yesterday that he will be back in the pits tonight.

He said: "The first priority tonight will be to win and the second will be the bonus point.

"Even if we achieve all three points then we will still have to wait on the results of the Arena v Peterborough meetings, where they face each other home and away, and the Peterborough against Rye House match.

"The only certain thing from our group is that King's Lynn cannot now qualify.

"Hopefully, we can do enough to progress as I really want to qualify for the latter stages of this competition.

"The draw has already been done and our group winners will face the highest average runner-up and at the moment that looks like it could well mean a trip to Edinburgh.

"I don't think that second spot in our group will be enough, that is unless we can suddenly get a spurt on and score about 70 points tonight."

Arena arrive in town with a friendly face in their side.

Leigh Lanham rides for the Essex outfit in the Premier League as well as doubling up at reserve for the Witches, with Danny Bird.

Arena are his main side and therefore they have his services in the BL Cup, which will see him pulling on the Hammers' race jacket tonight and he has the ability and current form to spoil the Witches' party.

With former England international Kelvin Tatum and Finn Joonas Kylmakorpi to back up Lanham, the Hammers have a potent top end, more than capable of taking the wind out of the Witches' sails.

Henning Bager rides at number two and Jason King, Daniel's brother, at four. Lee Herne rides at number six with his reserve partner still to be announced.

Tonight's teams

Ipswich: J Hampel, B Howe, F Eriksson, D Nermark, P Hurry, D King and M Wright.

Arena Essex: K Tatum, H Bager, L Lanham, J King, J Kylmakorpi, L Herne, A N Other.

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