Rathbone desperate for a win at hometown club

Ged Rathbone (right) with Panthers co-promoter Trevor Swales.
Ged Rathbone (right) with Panthers co-promoter Trevor Swales.
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Panthers supremo Ged Rathbone admits he will face months of stick if his team fail to perform tonight (Thursday).

The city racers travel north to Rathbone’s home town of Middlesbrough to take on Redcar Bears in a Premier League clash (7.30pm).

And the promoter is anxious for his men to follow up a smashing success at Rye House in their league opener last Saturday for more than one reason.

Rathbone said: “A win tonight will take us clear at the top of the table and that is exactly the position I want us to be in.

“I must admit I’ve had butterflies about this meeting for days. It’s the one I look out for first when the fixtures are released.

“I’ve got a lot of personal connections with the Redcar club. I’m a local man and a regular at their home meetings every Thursday along with my family.

“It’s one of those nights where I can’t help but have a few mixed feelings. It’s my club against my hometown team, but we’ve got a job to do and we want to come away with all four points.

“If we do happen to be beaten, I expect I will be hearing about it for a long time!”

Panthers then roar back onto home shale on Sunday when they entertain Somerset in another early-season league clash (5pm).

It will be a first Alwalton appearance since a potentially costly slip up at the hands of Sheffield in the Midland Group of the League Cup almost a fortnight ago.

And Rathbone admits he is looking for complete performances from one-to-seven in upcoming meetings after seeing some riders struggle in recent outings.

He added: “We’ve already had some cracking results this season, but I’ve not been completely happy with the points-scoring right through the team.

“We put the side together with strength-in-depth in mind, and that needs to be seen a bit more.

“We’ve been tending to rely on three or four riders performing well in each meeting and we have to get all seven guys firing.

“If that does happen, we are going to do some damage.”

Panthers are set to tweak their riding order in a bid to achieve that goal. Second strings Simon Lambert and Michael Palm Toft will swap places with the former now at number four and the latter moving to number two.