Bringing Jack Holder back was a non-starter

Edward Kennett.
Edward Kennett.
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Panthers owner Ged Rathbone reckons it will be impossible to ‘pull another rabbit out of the hat’ after their injury curse cruelly continued.

The city club unveiled former Great Britain international Edward Kennett as a major signing last week only for him to be ruled out before even making an appearance.

Kennett, drafted as a high-profile replacement for injured Emil Grondal, suffered a double fracture of the arm when involved in a crash during a World Long Track semi-final event in the Czech Republic last Saturday.

He now faces a lengthy lay-off after becoming the third Panthers rider to be seriously hurt in little more than a fortnight.

Kennett’s spill came only 10 days after Grondal suffered a pelvic fracture in a high-speed crash in his native Denmark with Finnish ace Nike Lunna suffering a broken ankle the previous week when guesting for SGB Championship rivals Workington at Scunthorpe.

Lunna has been replaced by Bradley Wilson-Dean but Panthers have little hope of bringing in another rider to replace Kennett. They have reverted back to their previous line-up which still includes Grondal for the time being.

Rathbone admitted an ambitious move to bring last season’s number one, Jack Holder, back to the club in that berth was a non-starter.

“It’s never nice to lose a rider to injury,” said Rathbone. “So to see three guys badly hurt in such quick succession is really frustrating - especially as not one of them was riding for us when crashing

“We thought we had pulled off a real coup to bring in a rider of Edward’s quality. There were other clubs chasing him, but he wanted to come to Peterborough and it wasn’t a silly deal either.

“It will be impossible to pull another rabbit out of the hat like that. There are so few riders around these days and it’s increasingly difficult to attract foreign riders over here with so few fixtures this season.

“We spoke to Jack who would have fitted in as a replacement for Edward, but there were too many fixture clashes for him to even be able to consider it.

“We’ve also contacted some other high-profile riders. We’ve done everything we can, but they either can’t or don’t want to come over.

“But we can’t afford to feel sorry for ourselves. We have to dust ourselves down and focus on the job of winning meetings.”

Grondal believes he can return to action in time for Panthers’ remaining SGB Championship Shield fixture at home to Ipswich on Sunday, June 17.

But club supremo Rathbone insists the Dane must prove his fitness before they given him the green light to slot back into their side.

He added: “I spoke to Emil earlier this week and he is walking unaided again now. He was initially in a wheelchair in the days after his crash and was then using crutches.

“He’s still got a long way to go but he hopes to be back on a bike next Tuesday for a practice. I’m not sure that’s realistic but he knows his body and feels he will be okay.

“We’re not going to rush him and we’ve made it quite clear that we would rather he takes longer out now and gets himself right.

“I’ve been in contact with Nike as well. His broken ankle is still in plaster and the damage to his knee from the other crash that night at Scunthorpe is still troubling him.

“A problem has also come to light with his left thigh that the doctors are monitoring and hope will correct itself.

“He hopes to be back on a bike by the end of June and we’ll take things from there.

“We want the injured boys to get back fit and give us a problem - give us decisions to make.”