Good results but another revamp is still on the cards

Panthers promoter Ged Rathbone faces a stick or twist dilemma in the club's pursuit of Premier League honours.

Thursday, 4th August 2016, 2:30 pm
Updated Thursday, 25th August 2016, 7:11 pm
Craig Cook in action.

The city team climbed back into third place in the standings after collecting four points in as many days on the road last week.

They ended fellow top-six hopefuls Sheffield’s unbeaten home league record with a 48-45 success at Owlerton last Thursday and then collected another point when going down 47-43 in a long-distance trip to Workington last Sunday.

Rathbone is still considering possible ways of strengthening a team not fully firing on all cylinders, but he doesn’t have long to make a decision with a signing deadline of August 15 looming large.

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Rathbone admitted: “Not many people would have expected us to pick up four points from two very tough away meetings.

“They were two pleasing results and it was great to see the lads dig in and battle in the way they did.

“But it is clear to see we still have a couple of problems in the team and the question now is whether we try to persevere with riders who have been struggling of late, or gamble on making team changes.

“We’re in a good position in the table, but we know we still have work to do to nail down that spot in the top six.

“We also have to consider whether or not we are strong enough currently to make a challenge for the title

“Whatever we settle on, it has to be the correct decision. There is no turning back after the signing deadline.”

Rathbone refused to identify any current riders potentially under threat if Panthers do opt to revamp their team again.

The club will have to make a decision on the future of reserve racer Ashley Morris, whose short-term stint is due to expire early next week.

Morris has impressed by scoring 30 points in five meetings since being drafted in for Simon Lambert, who is now out for the rest of the season.

Tom Perry has found the going tough since rising into the main body of the team following a lay-off of more than a month with a collarbone injury.

But Perry is still classed as the club’s mandatory British rider after starting the season in the number seven berth.

Czech prospect Zdenek Holub hasn’t made the impact expected of him at reserve while Danish pair Nikolaj Busk Jakobsen and Emil Grondal have struggled at times.

However, both of those riders have suggested their form is improving with performances of late.

Busk Jakobsen delivered two double-figure scores during July while Grondal delivered impressive heat 14 wins in the club’s two most recent meetings.