‘Every man will fight for every lap of every race’

Anders Thomsen in action against Edinburgh.
Anders Thomsen in action against Edinburgh.
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Ged Rathbone has told his Panthers riders to do whatever it takes to reach the final of the Premier League play-offs.

The city club travel to Scotland tomorrow for a semi-final second leg showdown against reigning champions Edinburgh.

Panthers will cross the border in possession of a two-point aggregate advantage after a 46-44 triumph in the opening leg at the East of England Showground last Sunday.

And they will make the long trek buoyed by a league triumph at Armadale earlier in the season. Panthers ran out 45-44 winners in a league clash there back in August - admittedly inspired by a high-scoring performance from a guest, Ricky Wells - and are confident of putting on another super show to keep their title dream alive.

Promoter Rathbone said: “The objective was to ensure we go to Edinburgh with an advantage and we have that - albeit a small one.

“We were huge underdogs before the tie began and I’m sure that is probably even more the case now, but we know we are capable of performing well up there.

“We have proved it once already this season and we are determined to do it again to reach the final.

“Every man will fight for every lap of every race. We will do whatever it takes to win as long as it is within the rules.

“Edinburgh are wary about the threat we pose and the Monarchs promotion are well aware they are going to be in a tough meeting tomorrow. They are hot favourites and under all the pressure.

“There is absolutely no chance of us going up there and rolling over. Anyone who thinks that will be the case is very much mistaken.

“We have been on a terrific journey this season and we certainly don’t want it to end tomorrow night. We want it to go all the way to the title.”

Rathbone was quick to admit Panthers cannot afford to be second-best out of the starts as they were for the vast majority of the opening leg.

But he believes the tight confines of Armadale will work in their favour in that respect.

He added: “I don’t know what Edinburgh do, or what they use, at the starts, but their gating was different class in the first leg.

“We have plenty of decent trappers in our team, but Edinburgh riders were quicker away from the tapes time and again.

“We certainly can’t let that happen again in the second leg and I don’t think we will. Armadale is a much tighter track with a much shorter run to the opening corner so I expect the elbows to be out and plenty of incidents to happen.

“We have to let the Edinburgh riders know they are in a meeting and show we want it more than them.

“They have guys like Sam Masters and Justin Sedgmen who are off to the Australian GP in a couple of weeks time. They are not going to want to put everything on the line and risk getting injured.”

Panthers will again bring in Ipswich rider Rohan Tungate as guest number one while Edinburgh expect to have German ace Kevin Wolbert available. He missed the opening leg with an arm problem.