A crucial Sunday in September

Ged Rathbone.

Ged Rathbone.

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Promoter Ged Rathbone reckons Panthers’ season-long pursuit of a Premier League play-off place may hinge on one afternoon of racing.

The city club have announced their final two home meetings of the regular season will take place on the same bumper Sunday at the East of England Showground.

They will now host Rye House at 2.30pm on September 4 ahead of a 5pm date against Workington - and Rathbone believes those results will be crucial in determining whether or not his side make the play-off cut.

He said: “Our whole season could boil down to just one afternoon.

“If we pick up the right results against Rye House and Workington, we’ll more than likely be in the play-offs.

“But, on the other hand, it could be curtains if those two meetings do not go our way.

“Our home form has not been anywhere near good enough and it is something we have to put right. We’ve got six meetings left with four of them being at the Showground.”

The next two Panthers meetings are both against a Newcastle side tipped to gatecrash the play-off places.

The Diamonds have a stack of meetings in hand and also boast a 100 per-cent record at their Brough Park base, where Panthers are the visitors on Sunday, 6.30pm.

Rathbone is a regular spectator at that venue and added: “I often go along to Newcastle and it is clear they are flying at the moment.

“They have some very good riders with the likes of Steve Worrall, Ludvig Lindgren and Robert Lambert, but it is all about gating at Brough Park.

“If we’re on our game, and if we can make some good starts, we’ll have a chance.”

Panthers know all about teenage prospect Lambert, who recently helped Great Britan to silver medals in the World Cup. He was sacked by the city club towards the end of last season.

Panthers and Newcastle then meet against at the East of England Showground next Friday (August 26) - the first of two home meetings for the club over the Bank Holiday weekend.

They also host Redcar on Monday, August 29.