A Panthers win would be the shock of the season

Bradley Wilson-Dean is ruled out through injury.
Bradley Wilson-Dean is ruled out through injury.
0
Have your say

Carl Johnson is out to cause one of the shocks of the SGB Championship season tonight.

That’s how the Panthers team boss would class an East Anglian derby victory for his side at Ipswich (7.30pm).

It looks an unlikely scenario as the city side travel to Foxhall in a slump after losing their last four meetings to face a title-chasing Witches outfit who have blitzed to four successive victories to cement their play-off place.

Throw Panthers’ miserable record at the Suffolk track into the mix – where they typically tend to be on the receiving end of a heavy defeat – and it would be easy to wave the white flag.

But Johnson is certainly not in the mood to surrender and is determined to make life as difficult as possible for the high-flying hosts.

And the knowledge of number one Chris Harris will be a valuable asset as he racked up 15 points when guesting for Workington at Ipswich last week.

Johnson said: “Ipswich are potential title-winners. They boast a very strong team and are formidable at home.

“We all hoped we would be up there battling for a play-off place with them, but it hasn’t worked out for one reason or another.

“It’s a derby meeting and we’re looking to cause a big surprise by winning there. Even if we can’t manage that, we want to make it a tough night for Ipswich and put them under pressure.

“Bomber guested superbly there last week an hopefully he will be able to give the other boys a heads-up on the correct mechanical set-up to use.

“Hopefully the track is a lot better than when we went there earlier in the season. Both teams were struggling to ride it that night.”

Panthers are without two of their regular riders due to injury.

Bradley Wilson-Dean is again missing with a hand problem after being involved in three crashes in two days recently.

He tumbled out of his last ride in Panthers’ loss at Scunthorpe on Sunday and then hit the deck twice when riding in the SGB Premiership for Swindon the following evening. He also missed Panthers’ recent Northern tour with the same problem.

Reserve Simon Lambert is also missing aggravating his long-standing right wrist problem at Scunthorpe.

He underwent surgery on it in June after suffering a double-break in a track crash.

Panthers are forced to operate rider replacement to cover the absence of Wilson-Dean, but have drafted in James Sarjeant – a rider who spent last season and part of the current campaign with Ipswich – to guest for Lambert.

Sarjeant also rode there last week for his current club Workington, scoring 3+1 at reserve.

Locally-based Ipswich team boss Ritchie Hawkins certainly won’t take Panthers lightly.

He said: “They have a strong side which could easily cause us some problems.”