MEETING PREVIEW: Rathbone targets awayday success

Lasse Bjerre rides for Panthers at Ipswich tonight.
Lasse Bjerre rides for Panthers at Ipswich tonight.
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Promoter Ged Rathbone reckons Peterborough Panthers have the potential to damage many home reputations during a daunting run of away fixtures.

Seven of the city club’s next eight Premier League outings are on the road, starting with an East Anglian derby clash at Ipswich tonight (July 21, 7.30pm).

Zdenek Holub should return for Panthers at Ipswich.

Zdenek Holub should return for Panthers at Ipswich.

They also travel to four of the other five teams currently sitting in the play-off places – Sheffield, Somerset, Berwick and Edinburgh - during the next month and face two other sides tipped to climb into the top six – Workington and Newcastle. The only home meeting in that time is against Edinburgh on Sunday, August 7.

“Having so many away meetings in quick succession is obviously going to be very tough,” said Rathbone. “But we always believe we can pick up results on the road.

“We did it throughout last season and we’ve also had success on our travels earlier in the current campaign.

“We have the potential to do damage at any track in the Premier League. We boast a top number one in Craig Cook while our captain Ulrich Ostergaard is operating at a real-time average in excess of nine points on the road.

“Throw Nikolaj Busk Jakobsen into the mix and we have a very potent spearhead with three riders all capable of getting double-figures on any given night.

“We will be relying on those guys to score well and also the lads further down the order to perform to the levels we know they are capable of reaching.

“We have to ensure we pick up at least a point in every meeting. A win or two would be a nice bonus. It is vital we keep our tally ticking over to ensure we stay in the right position in the table. We don’t want to slide down the standings and leave ourselves with a mountain to climb.”

An improving Ipswich side provide the first challenge for Panthers at Foxhall.

The city men could go top with a win, but make the trip without Cook, who has an Elite League fixture for Belle Vue.

Former Panthers and Ipswich racer Lasse Bjerre has been called in to deputise at number one while Zdenek Holub is set to return at reserve after missing both home meetings last week.

Ipswich, who have won three of their last four meetings, are spearheaded by British champion Danny King and recently snapped up Ben Barker, who starred for Panthers towards the end of last season.

Rathbone added: “There is no doubt we are catching Ipswich at the wrong time. They have strengthened their team in recent weeks.”

Forthcoming Panthers fixtures: July: 21 v Ipswich (a), 28 v Sheffield (a), 31 v Workington (a), August 5 v Somerset (a), 7 v Edinburgh (h), 12 v Edinburgh (a), 13 v Berwick (a), 21 v Newcastle (a)