Danish ace Hansen willbe back in action soon
Panthers have received a double boost with regard to their illness and injury situation.
The city club have been without Danish racer Kenneth Hansen for the last three meetings.
Hansen returned to his homeland for blood tests and a scan after suffering pains in the past couple of weeks.
They have highlighted an infection which can be easily treated and, although he will miss an SGB Championship trip to Sheffield tonight (Thursday), he is expected to return to the Panthers fold for their following fixture on May 7, when they host Edinburgh.
Team boss Carl Johnson said: “It’s great news that Kenneth’s recent health issues are nothing too serious.
“It was a worrying time for him and everyone connected with the club is relieved that he’ll soon be back on a bike.
“Kenneth is also appreciative of the fact that we didn’t rush into signing a short-term replacement for him - even though using rider replacement hasn’t really worked for us.
“But we felt it was the right thing to do and we look forward to welcoming him back next month.
“He’s a very important piece of our jigsaw with his ability to score so well at the Showground and having huge scope to improve his average.”
Hansen has pulled out of a GP qualifier in Denmark tomorrow (Friday) to focus on his recuperation.
Panthers have received another upbeat medical bulletin from Paul Starke.
The winter signing withdrew from the club’s 60-32 drubbing at Ipswich last Saturday night after an awkward tumble when attempting to avoid fallen team-mate Tom Bacon.
He sat out the return clash on Easter Monday, but is now set for action at Sheffield, 7.30pm, after undergoing physiotherapy.
Johnson added: “We initially thought the trip to Sheffield would come too soon for Paul, but he is adamant that he is able to ride.
“He has had extensive physio since the crash and it’s great to see a rider so determined to help the team.
“It’s another nice boost ahead of a very tough away test for us against a Sheffield side who are tipped to challenge for the title.”
Owlerton Stadium has been one of Panthers’ happier hunting grounds since returning to the second tier of the sport.
They’ve lost only once in five visits to the South Yorkshire venue and that defeat was by just two points in the 2014 campaign.
Panthers recorded one win and one draw on Sheffield shale in each of the last two seasons, while captain Ulrich Ostergaard captured the Premier League Riders’ Championship there in 2015.
The highly-rated hosts are spearheaded by Australian racer Josh Grajczonek and also feature Lasse Bjerre, who guested for Panthers on Easter Monday, in their septet.
They’ve won two and lost two of their four league meetings so far.