Panthers are looking to end a sad season on a cheerful note

Craig Cook in action against Edinburgh last month.
Craig Cook in action against Edinburgh last month.

Team boss Carl Johnson insists Panthers will be gunning for victory in a meaningless conclusion to a difficult Premier League season tomorrow night (Friday).

The city side make the long trek to Edinburgh Monarchs’ Armadale Stadium (7.30pm) for a re-arranged finale to a campaign that has failed to live up to expectations.

Even though a victory in Scotland could lift them to fifth spot in the standings, the British Speedway Promoters’ Association (BSPA) have refused to allow the meeting to count towards the play-offs as it is being staged after the September 19 cut-off date. So Panthers miss out.

Johnson said: “The cut-off date was extended once - from September 12 to September 19 - and I’m disappointed the BSPA management committee weren’t prepared to do it again to allow us to get our final meeting in.

“All league meetings should count towards the play-offs and it is even more frustrating that one of ours will not count through no fault of our own.

“We can’t help the fact the meeting at Edinburgh was postponed in August and we’re also annoyed that we weren’t offered three alternative dates.

“I’m not for one minute claiming that we were guaranteed to win at Edinburgh, but we certainly deserved the opportunity to try.

“Our riders are all aware of the situation and feel very disappointed. Motivating them will not be easy, but the aim is to pick up a result and show everyone that we should have been in the play-offs.”

Panthers promoter Ged Rathbone, who is already considering his future in the sport after two years at the helm of the city club, recently described the play-off situation as ‘highly unsatisfactory’.

The BSPA declined to comment on the Panthers’ situation after being approached by the Peterborough Telegraph.

Panthers will operate the rider replacement facility for injured Anders Thomsen, but they are otherwise expected to be a full strength.

Tonight Edinburgh begin their play-off challenge with a quarter-final first leg at Ipswich tonight (Thursday).