Peterborough Panthers have moved quickly to snap up experienced Australian Ty Proctor following his release from Premiership rivals King’s Lynn.
Proctor, who had a doubling-up spell with the club in the Elite League way back in 2008, goes straight into the Crendon Panthers’ side for Monday’s big local derby with Ipswich at the East of England Arena.
The 32-year-old has been named as an injury replacement for Bradley Wilson-Dean, who is currently out with a broken collarbone, and Panthers will further assess the position after the next month.
Boss Carl Johnson says with Wilson-Dean moving into the top five in July the club were unwilling to gamble on the rider-replacement facility – and he says it was an obvious move when Proctor became available due to the Stars’ own changes.
Johnson said: “It’s a decision we’ve had to make, and to be fair as soon as we found Ty was available it was a no-brainer. I actually can’t believe King’s Lynn have let him go!
“He comes in as 28-day cover for Bradley because we’re not strong enough with rider-replacement, and if anything goes wrong we’re going to struggle.
“We have five meetings in July which are all important, three home and two away, and we need to take points from most of them, so it’s an important period and as Bradley was never going to be fit for those meetings it makes sense to bring someone of Ty’s ability in.
“We’re not sure how Bradley is going to be out for. He was due to see a specialist on Wednesday (June 26) but he got messed around and didn’t actually get to see anyone, so we’re still none the wiser on that.
“Because it’s an injury replacement, Bradley can come back in for anyone, so if someone is not performing or gets injured it leaves the door open, and I want Bradley back in the team as soon as he’s fit – he’s an important part of our set-up.
“Obviously he wants to be back as soon as he can, but he knows he has to sit out for 28 days and get himself fit.”
Proctor impressed in the Championship Fours when racing for his second-tier club Sheffield at Alwalton last weekend.
And in a quirk of the fixture list, he will have a rapid return to King’s Lynn next month as Panthers visit the Adrian Flux Arena on July 25, as well as another of his former tracks Wolverhampton three days earlier.
Johnson added: “It was a decision made after seeing riders at the Showground last Sunday, where Ty was one of the outstanding riders, although until now we didn’t know he was becoming available. When I found out that he was, we’ve jumped on it and put him into the team.
“We know he goes well on our track – he didn’t have a brilliant meeting here for King’s Lynn, but he showed what he can do on Sunday and we’ve been on the end of some of his good meetings at the Showground before.
“Obviously we’re going to benefit from having him against King’s Lynn at King’s Lynn, and also he rides Wolves really well, so the tracks that are coming up are going to favour him, and us as a team.
“I think it’s a positive move that makes us stronger, and I don’t like using rider-replacement and couldn’t afford to do it for a whole month.”