Palm Toft willing to help the club that sacked him
Michael Palm Toft hopes to produce a fine performance for Panthers . . . less than a month after being sacked by them!
The Dane was dropped along with countryman Nicklas Porsing in May as the city club drafted in British big-hitter Craig Cook as part of a revamp.
But Palm Toft is back for one night only tomorrow (Friday) when stepping in to guest for Panthers in their top-of-the-table showdown against Glasgow at the East of England Showground (7.30pm).
He is one of two guests booked to face the Tigers with Lasse Bjerre, who rode for the club in 2014, drafted in to cover for captain Ulrich Ostergaard. Both Ostergaard and Grondal have unavoidable fixture clashes in their native Denmark.
Palm Toft and Bjerre will bolster a depleted Panthers line-up which is set to feature a debutant (latest recruit Zdenek Holub slots in at reserve) and a man returning from injury (Nikolaj Busk Jakobsen is back after a month out with concussion) while also operating rider replacement for the injured Tom Perry.
Palm Toft said: “It is always nice to have the chance to race at Peterborough and I’m looking forward to it.
“I’m not thinking about proving a point or anything like that - I’m just going there to do my job of scoring points and earning money.
“I did a couple of guest bookings for Workington and Berwick last week which both went well and hopefully this one will be good for me too.
“I feel I’ve been riding pretty well all season, but it was my bikes that let me down. Touch wood, those problems are all sorted now.”
Palm Toft was part of the Panthers team drubbed 62-30 at Glasgow in the reverse fixture almost six weeks ago. That was the result which convinced promoter Ged Rathbone that changes were required.
But the city side are in much better form now and have strung together three successive league victories - two of which arrived on Bank Holiday Monday against Palm Toft’s current club Scunthorpe and Ipswich - to zoom to the top of the table.
They were a point clear of a gaggle of three teams - Glasgow, Somerset and Sheffield - as the Peterborough Telegraph hit the presses last night (Wednesday), but that situation could change tonight (Thursday) when all three of their closest pursuers are scheduled to be in action. Glasgow go to Ipswich, Sheffield host Newcastle and Somerset are at Redcar.
The visit of Glasgow is the first of three important home clashes for Panthers during June with visits from Workington and Plymouth to follow.
Rathbone said: “It has felt fantastic to be top of the table since Bank Holiday Monday. It is the position that every team wants to be in and we will fight to stay there.
“It is obviously not ideal to be missing two important riders for such a tough meeting, but we have managed to bring in a couple of very capable guests who both know their way around the Showground.
“We’ve already dropped some silly points this season and we can’t afford to let anymore go.
“It’s vital we win at home in front of our own fans.”
Glasgow have also made a team change in recent days.
Tigers bosses axed British ace Ben Barker, who was terrific for Panthers towards the end of last season, in favour of Danish rider Rene Bach.
But Bach is also unavailable tomorrow due to commitments in his homeland so Glasgow have drafted in Kyle Howarth of Sheffield to guest.
They’re also using rider replacement to cover for injured Finn Nike Lunna.