Panthers pair could help cause a massive shock

Craig Cook in action.
Craig Cook in action.

Panthers team boss Carl Johnson hopes to tap into the knowledge of two title-winners to cause a major Premier League shock tomorrow (Friday) night.

The city team make the long trip to Edinburgh (7.30pm) for the first of two crucial away fixtures in the space of 24 hours. They then visit Berwick on Saturday (7.30pm).

While few will give Panthers any hope of picking up a positive result at Armadale against a Monarchs side who thumped them 52-39 at the East of England Showground last Sunday, and also leapfrogged them in the league table in the process, Johnson is not prepared to roll over.

And he reckons the presence of two riders who have enjoyed title success in Edinburgh colours can help Panthers trouble their hosts.

Number one Craig Cook spent the five last years with Edinburgh and helped the Scottish club to a stack of honours in that time. He is also their second-highest scorer of all-time after racking up 2,647 points in 226 official meetings in Monarchs colours.

And, at the opposite end of the Panthers order, reserve Ashley Morris was part of the Edinburgh side which won the Premier League back in 2010.

Johnson said: “There is no better rider of Edinburgh’s track than Craig and he will be able to pass his knowledge on to the rest of the guys.

“Hopefully we can rely on him for plenty of points and it will be a case of needing the other boys to follow his example.

“We’ve also got Ashley down at reserve, who has also had success riding for the Monarchs in the past, and some points from that area of the team will be really valuable.

“We managed a win at Edinburgh last season and we need to believe we can do it again.”

Panthers’ task tomorrow night is made even more difficult by the absence of Danish rider Nikolaj Busk Jakobsen due to a fixture in his homeland.

Busk Jakobsen does return on Saturday though, when Panthers will aim to triumph at Berwick for the third successive season.

The big Shielfield Park track tends to suit the city men and Johnson will again target victory at one of the most northerly points in England.

He added: “Berwick are another team in the shake-up for play-off places and a good result there could really help our cause.

“We’re shuffling the riding order around again for that meeting to try to get the most out of the team.

“Hopefully all seven guys can chip in with the sort of scores we expect of them. If that happens we’ll have a great chance of victory.”