Panthers have received mixed news on the injury front as they return to their own shale tonight (Thursday).
The return of captain Hans Andersen from a shoulder fracture is a major boost for the city side as they entertain Swindon in an SGB Premiership clash at Alwalton (7.30pm) - their first home outing in almost a month.
But team boss Carl Johnson is reeling from the news that reserve ace Bradley Wilson-Dean could face as long as six weeks out of the saddle with a broken collar-bone.
The New Zealand champion crashed in the final heat of the club’s drubbing at Belle Vue last Thursday and is likely to miss a key spell in the season after he was refused an operation to repair the damage.
Johnson said: “It’s obviously a massive boost to have our captain and number one back with us - especially as Hans was riding so well at the time he picked up his injury.
“He scores points on the track for us and his knowledge and support of the other guys is worth so much in the pits as well.
“But Bradley is a huge loss to us. He has been important away as well as scoring some big points at home.
“He has been to hospital but they are not prepared to operate on the NHS. Therefore his only options are to allow it to heal naturally, which takes time, or to go private, which obviously costs a lot of money.”
Wilson-Dean has injured the same collar-bone that he had plates removed from last year when missing the final weeks of the club’s SGB Championship season.
Johnson admitted the possible length of absence may lead club chiefs to consider drafting in a short-term replacement. They have hired Belle Vue man Ricky Wells to guest tonight.
“We’ll have to look at our options,” added Johnson. “Six weeks is a massive chunk of our season with a series of important home meetings coming up.
“It’s always difficult to rely on guests for any length of time - especially with options being limited on occasions due to the fixed race nights in the Premiership.
“It may be that we have to make a signing for 28 days as injury cover, but myself, Colin (Pratt, co-promoter) and Buster (Chapman, owner) will have a think about where we go later in the week.”
Swindon, who are spearheaded by former world champion Jason Doyle, have signed French rider David Bellego to replace the injured Tobiasz Musielak. Bellego started the season with Ipswich before being axed by the Suffolk club.
They also boast former Panthers riders Troy Batchelor, Ellis Perks and Paul Starke (who is guesting at reserve for the recently retired Zach Wajtknecht) in their ranks while British charger Adam Ellis is a frequent high-scorer in visits to Alwalton.
PANTHERS: Hans Andersen, Josh Bates, Scott Nicholls, Charles Wright, Rohan Tungate, Aaron Summers, Ricky Wells (guest).
SWINDON: Jason Doyle, David Bellego, Rasmus Jensen, Adam Ellis, Troy Batchelor, Ellis Perks, Paul Starke (guest).