Peterborough Panthers have been dealt another injury blow ahead of a crucial TV clash tonight (July 15).
The city team entertain Belle Vue in an SGB Premiership fixture at the East of England Arena (7.30pm) which is being screened live by BT Sport.
Panthers have slipped out of the play-off places following a run of four defeats in their last five outings – a slump in form which includes back-to-back home losses.
They have also seen reserve racer Aaron Summers added to a casualty list that includes captain Hans Andersen and Bradley Wilson-Dean.
Summers crashed on Saturday night as Berwick beat Leicester in the SGB Championship and then pulled out of the return clash yesterday after two rides due to still feeling the effects of the spill.
The Australian ace has suffered damage to his knee and back, and is due to go to hospital today for checks so Panthers have drafted in Ricky Wells as a guest.
Wells played a starring role in the club’s last win – against Swindon on June 20 – with a dozen points during another guesting mission.
Panthers have also borrowed German ace Erik Riss from local rivals King’s Lynn to fill in at number one for Andersen while Ty Proctor continues as a short-term replacement for Wilson-Dean.
They face a daunting task tonight against an Aces side who have already beaten them four times this term – including in the season-opener at Alwalton.
Panthers team chief Johnson said: “Everyone can see we’re having a tough time at the moment with results and injuries not going our way.
“It’s one of those nights where we’re all going to have to stick together and try to pick up the win our season definitely needs.
“We’ve dropped out of the play-off places but there is a hell of a lot of racing still to go, so there won’t be any doom and gloom around the place in mid-July.
“Belle Vue have beaten us four times this year and I’m sure they’ll fancy doing it again given our problems, but hopefully they will take us lightly and we can cause something of a surprise and show everyone watching what we’re about.
“The meeting is on TV but we desperately need the fans in the stadium and not on their sofas.”
Panthers are one point outside the play-offs so could climb back into the top four with a win, while visitors Belle Vue will return to the top of the table if they sample glory on the Alwalton shale.
The Manchester side are headed by Australian talent Max Fricke and past Panthers star Kenneth Bjerre.
The Huntingdon-based Dane was widely linked with a move back to the city club in the winter, but no deal could be agreed.
Tonight’s clash is followed by a run of seven consecutive away fixtures through to the end of August for Panthers.
The club’s three outstanding home fixtures – against Belle Vue, Swindon and Wolverhampton – are not expected to be scheduled until September.
PANTHERS: Erik Riss (guest), Ty Proctor, Scott Nicholls, Charles Wright, Rohan Tungate, Ricky Wells, Josh Bates.
BELLE VUE: Max Fricke, Jaimon Lidsey, Dan Bewley, Steve Worrall, Kenneth Bjerre, Dimitri Berge, Tero Aarnio.