Panthers won’t pay silly money for a number one

Panthers latest signing Simon Lambert.
Panthers latest signing Simon Lambert.
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Promoter Ged Rathbone insists he will not be held to ransom as he attempts to complete the assembly of the Panthers team for 2016.

The city club now have six confirmed members of their septet for next season in place after welcoming back star-of-2015 Simon Lambert yesterday (Wednesday).

The 26 year-old’s arrival - to join captain Ulrich Ostergaard, new signing Nikolaj Busk Jakobsen, fellow returnees Michael Palm Toft and Emil Grondal, and British reserve Tom Perry - leaves club chiefs with only one void left to fill.

They have 8.45 points at their disposal to attract what is likely to be their number one rider, but Rathbone admits the demands of possible targets could prove to be a stumbling block.

Rathbone said: “We are not going to rush into completing the team. We have to make the right signing at the right price.

“We are not going to throw money around and we are certainly not going to be held to ransom. There are plenty of Premier League clubs paying silly money to attract riders but we won’t be joining them.

“We do have a number of possible targets so it is a case of seeing what develops over the coming days and weeks.”

Rathbone is urging latest recruit Lambert to ensure his days as a high-scoring reserve are behind him.

The Panthers supremo wants to see the Lincolnshire-based racer develop into a proven performer in the main body of the team.

That’s where he ended last season and it is also where he will begin the new campaign as his average (5.19) is marginally higher than that of World Under 21 finalist Grondal, who will begin 2016 in a reserve berth on a mark of 5.12.

Rathbone added: “Simon was brilliant for us last season and we’re delighted to have him back again for 2016.

“He produced big scores home and away at reserve to put more than one-and-a-half points on his average.

“I have no doubt his figure would have been even higher had he not been out for a month when breaking his shoulder and then returned without it being fully healed.

“He still showed enough to suggest he can become a solid second string in the Premier League and that should be the least he achieves in 2016.

“I want him to continue to push and challenge to become a heat leader, and I don’t want to see him back at reserve.”

Panthers team so far: Ulrich Ostergaard (av 7.87), Nikolaj Busk Jakobsen (6.91), Michael Palm Toft (5.96), Simon Lambert (5.19), Emil Grondal (5.12), Tom Perry (3.00).