Wounded Peterborough Panthers are struggling for numbers ahead of a tough trip to title chasers

Depleted Panthers are set for a weekend roll call ahead of Monday’s tough Premiership trip to title-chasing Belle Vue.

By David Rowe
Thursday, 21st July 2022, 7:00 am
Michael Palm Toft.
Michael Palm Toft.

Panthers have major question marks over Michael Palm Toft and Hans Andersen, who have both been struggling with shoulder injuries.Palm Toft has completed less than one racing lap since crashing at Poole last month, while Andersen came to grief at Sheffield last Thursday and suffered a dislocation.

And it just adds to Panthers’ problems with Rising Star Jordan Palin now ruled out for the rest of the season after suffering a head injury.

Talk of potential team changes has also dampened, and it appears Panthers are preparing to complete the season with what they have, after a fruitless search for new blood.There have been minimal alterations throughout the Premiership this season with red tape issues around visas commonplace.

The few changes which have occurred have been in the lower regions of teams, whereas Panthers have already been served well by youngster Benjamin Basso, one of the success stories of 2022, and their real need is for a rider to offer consistent top-end support to Chris Harris.

It’s all left manager Rob Lyon somewhat resigned to the current situation, with Panthers needing a remarkable burst of form over August and September, or a total collapse elsewhere, if they are to make the top four.

Lyon said: “The league is pretty stagnant in terms of movement and riders coming into the league, so the chance of anything changing is unlikely.“It would be nice to see these boys, who we all saw last year riding so well, get back to that and have a good end to the season.

“Nobody likes to see riders racing the way they are, it’s not good for anyone.“Realistically we now have to go and get three or four wins away from home, and also to win all the rest of our home meetings.

“That’s not impossible, but it’s unlikely.”

Things will get no easier in Manchester on Monday, where Panthers were hammered 64-26 in the opening meeting of their league campaign in early May.The Aces have run up a series of big home wins of late, hitting 58 points against Sheffield and then 61 against King’s Lynn as they close in on a play-off place.