SPEEDWAY: Peterborough Panthers promoter urges patience in his new year message

Panthers promoter Ged Rathbone.

Panthers promoter Ged Rathbone.

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Peterborough Panthers promoter Ged Rathbone insists patience will be a virtue for his side this winter.

Panthers go into 2016 with one member of their team for the new Premier League campaign still to be confirmed.

Ulrich Ostergaard will be back to skipper Panthers in 2016.

Ulrich Ostergaard will be back to skipper Panthers in 2016.

But, in a new year’s message to fans, Rathbone insists he is relaxed about a situation which sees their number one rider yet to be recruited.

He confirmed the club have a number of exciting targets and also reveals he does not expect to be in a position to slot the final piece into the Panthers jigsaw until early February.

Rathbone said: “The point I would like to emphasise is that we already have six terrific riders on board - all of whom have scope for plenty of improvement.

“We already have the makings of a team which we hope can do even better than last season and again challenge for the title.

“It is not about making a quick signing to complete the line-up. We need to ensure we make the right signing and we are confident we will do that.

“There are very few team spots still to be filled in the Premier League so we are not in a position where we face competition for the riders who feature on our shortlist.

“We have received the first draft of our own fixtures and we expect them to be finalised in January. Once that has happened we can move forward in our discussions with riders we are keen to bring in.

“I’ve been made aware of some nonsense on internet forums which suggests we cannot afford to sign a number one.

“Let me quash that straight away and let me also assure every single one of our supporters that we have the finances to put together a package to attract any of our targets for the number one spot.

“What we will not do is pay over the odds for any riders who are not of what we regard to be proven Premier League number one standard.”

Panthers have so far handed returns to captain Ulrich Ostergaard, fellow Danes Michael Palm Toft and Emil Grondal, and local lad Simon Lambert, after they all impressed during the club’s surge to the play-off semi-finals last season.

Nikolaj Busk Jakobsen, the star of the Danish side in the World Under 21 Team Championship Final, and reserve Tom Perry, who will fill the number seven spot, are the new faces at the East of England Showground.

That all leaves club bosses with 8.45 of their 42.50 team-building points still available for their final rider.