Peterborough Panthers team boss Carl Johnson reckons the return of captain Hans Andersen will give the ailing rock-bottom city side a major boost.
The Danish star slots back into the city club’s line-up for their SGB Premiership trip to reigning champions Poole tonight (August 1, 7.30pm).
It’s a top-versus-bottom clash at Wimborne Road with the Pirates leading the way from Ipswich on points difference while Panthers dropped to the basement following their A47 derby drubbing at King’s Lynn last week.
Andersen is fit for battle less than a month after being knocked unconscious and left with a small bleed on the brain by a horror spill in a home defeat at the hands of Ipswich.
The 38 year-old played a starring role when Panthers registered their only away win of the campaign when triumphing 47-43 at Poole back in May.
“It’s brilliant to have Hans back,” said Johnson.
“It was a truly awful crash he had last month and I’m staggered with how quickly he has recovered from it.
“It just goes to show how determined he is to get back racing for a club which means so much to him.
“He’s a top rider and also a great character and it will give everyone a buzz to see him back in the pits at Poole.
“He’s not had his best season in terms of scoring points, but he is a huge part of the club.
“Even if things aren’t going well for him, Hans is always happy to help the other guys in any way he can.”
Andersen, who practised extensively in Poland last weekend with no ill effects, comes back into the Panthers fold at number five with Rohan Tungate having taken over at number one in the latest set of averages.
Team boss Johnson has shuffled his pack with Scott Nicholls going to number two, Charles Wright now operating at number three and in-form Ty Proctor settling in at number four.
Proctor is now a permanent member of the team in place of Bradley Wilson-Dean after initially replacing the Kiwi on a short-term basis.
Panthers bosses are still searching for a new recruit to replace injured reserve Josh Bates, who is recovering from neck surgery and expected to miss the rest of the season.
In-form Wolverhampton man Ryan Douglas has been drafted in as a guest for the trip to Poole which is the third of seven consecutive away meetings for Panthers.
Johnson added: “The riders are all a bit down due to the recent results, but it’s my job to pick them back up ahead of tonight.
“We’re in a rut and I feel it’s the right time to shuffle things around, and I’m confident the new riding order will give us a bit more strength throughout.
“We won at Poole earlier in the season and getting a result down there again could really kick our season back into life.
“Obviously we’re in a lot worse form now than in May whereas they are flying high at the top of the table, but we’ll give it our best shot.
“We might have dropped to the bottom of the table, but we’re still only five points off the play-offs and we’re not just going to let the season fizzle out.”