MEETING PREVIEW: Panthers will be back on top if they avoid slipping on a banana skin

Former Panther Michael Palm Toft will be a threat for Scunthorpe against Panthers.
Former Panther Michael Palm Toft will be a threat for Scunthorpe against Panthers.
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A return to the top of the Premier League awaits for Peterborough Panthers tonight (July 12) . . . providing they can avoid slipping on a bottom-of-the-table banana-skin.

The city team compete in their first league fixture for three weeks when hosting basement side Scunthorpe at the East of England Showground (7.30pm).

Tom Stokes will be back in action for Panthers against Scunthorpe.

Tom Stokes will be back in action for Panthers against Scunthorpe.

They have dropped to fourth in the standings during that time, but are only two points behind leaders Glasgow so know that a victory will earn a return to pole position.

But promoter Ged Rathbone has been quick to stress that seeing off the lowly visitors will be no easy task for a Panthers side experiencing injury problems.

He is particularly wary of the threat posed by a rider he sacked earlier in the season - Michael Palm Toft - who is now a dangerman for the Scorpions at reserve.

“If anyone thinks it will be a stroll for us tonight, they are very much mistaken,” said Rathbone.

“Scunthorpe might be bottom of the table, but they have picked up good wins against Ipswich and Glasgow recently.

“They have strengthened their team and they now have Michael Palm Toft down at reserve.

“He has been scoring well in that position and we all know what he can do around the Showground.

“But we need to get straight back into the groove in the league by winning the first of two important home meetings this week.

“Every point counts at this stage of the season and we can’t afford to drop any at home.”

Panthers hand a debut to short-term signing Ashley Morris tonight.

The 22 year-old has been drafted in as a temporary replacement for injury victim Simon Lambert.

Morris will operate at reserve as his 4.65 average is lower than that of Emil Grondal (4.91) who goes back up into the main body of the team.

Panthers have also called in number eight Tom Stokes to partner Morris in a new-look reserve combination. Stokes deputises for the injured Zdenek Holub.

Visitors Scunthorpe have an injury problem of their own with Alex Davies out following a crash in their win against Glasgow on Sunday.

They’ll operate rider replacement for him tonight.

It is the Scorpions’ third meeting in as many days. They lost 57-32 at Newcastle in a KO Cup clash.

Panthers host Berwick at the Showground on Friday (July 15).

TEAMS

PANTHERS: Craig Cook, Emil Grondal, Nikolaj Busk Jakobsen, Ashley Morris, Ulrich Ostergaard, Tom Perry, Tom Stokes.

SCUNTHORPE: Josh Auty, Josh Bailey, Rider replacement for Alex Davies, Ryan Douglas, Lewis Kerr, Michael Palm Toft, Carl Wilkinson.