Bookies don’t fancy new-look Panthers for Premier League

The dust was flying at the East Of England SHowground on Saturday as Panthers held a practice session. Trying to impress the Panthers management here is Danny Phillips. Picture: Kevin Goodacre

The dust was flying at the East Of England SHowground on Saturday as Panthers held a practice session. Trying to impress the Panthers management here is Danny Phillips. Picture: Kevin Goodacre

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Panthers team boss Carl Johnson reckons the bookmakers have made a huge mistake.

Bet Victor have released prices on the new Premier League speedway season and they are clearly not struck on the chances of a new-look Panthers team to lift the title.

The city club are 12-1 shots for glory which makes them joint sixth-favourites along with three other sides in a 13-team league.

But that billing has dismayed Johnson who reckons the Panthers line-up ticks all required boxes to end an honours drought stretching back to an Elite Shield success early in 2007.

Johnson said: “I find those odds staggering in all honesty. I am confident we have a team that is more than a match for any at this level.

“We boast two of the top five riders in the Premier League in Olly Allen and Ulrich Ostergaard and we have also made arguably the most exciting signing of the winter by bringing in young Robert Lambert.

“I’m struggling to think of a better pair of second-strings than Lewis Blackbird and Adam Roynon.

“Lewis was an absolute star for us until injury cut short his 2014 season and he was regularly beating main-body Elite League riders as well for Eastbourne.

“Adam could prove to be on a false average. We all know he has had his problems with injuries, but he has ridden as a number one in this league in the past.

“And I also like the look of our reserves. Simon Lambert finished last season superbly after investing in improved equipment and hopefully he can pick up from where he left off while we were all delighted when young Ollie Greenwood became available.

“He showed everyone what he could do during his spell with us last season and he has looked very good whenever I have seen him practice this winter.

“I’m not a betting man myself, but I’m sure there are a few fans who will fancy having a flutter at those odds.

“Hopefully we can make them a bit of money by delivering the sort of performances that I believe we are capable of doing.

“I’m confident we can challenge for every trophy that is up for grabs.”

Panthers launch their 2015 season with an eagerly-anticipated Challenge clash against a Great Britain Select side at the East of England Showground on Sunday (2pm).

A stern test is likely from a visiting team put together by the national chief Alun Rossiter.

Johnson added: “Alun has picked plenty of good riders who are capable of performing well at the Showground.

“But our job is to go out there and win speedway meetings and we need to hit the ground running on Sunday.”

Panthers will hope to get in plenty of valuable track-time at Alwalton today (Thursday) when staging their Press & Practice event.

Supporters are welcome with admission being free. The club’s riders and management will be unveiled from noon with the bikes likely to be on track by 2pm.

All riders are then scheduled to attend a pre-season social event at the Post Office Sports & Social Club in Bourges Boulevard tomorrow (Friday).

Admission to the event organised by the Peterborough Panthers Speedway Supporters Club (PPSSC) is £5 payable on the door. The price includes a buffet.