Panthers can clinch a play-off spot within the next few days

Paul Starke will guest for Panthers.
Paul Starke will guest for Panthers.
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Panthers have been urged not to let all their good work go to waste as they roar back into SGB Championship action.

The city side face back-to-back away clashes this weekend as a Saturday visit to fellow play-off chasers Berwick, 7pm, is followed by a Sunday date at Newcastle (6.30pm).

It’s been a frustrating summer for Panthers with only one meeting in the past month – a home East Anglian derby draw against Ipswich – but they remain at the summit of the second tier.

And owner Ged Rathbone reckons a couple of positive results in the coming days can clinch a play-off spot.

He said: “We’ve been the form team in the SGB Championship this season, but we’ve had to sit and watch other clubs make changes and build momentum in the last few weeks.

“The lack of racing has been frustrating for everyone – not least of all the riders – but the positive is that we are still top of the table.

“We have worked hard to put ourselves in an excellent position and we need to ensure we now finish the job.

“We know we’re in for a tough test at Berwick as they are chasing a play-off spot themselves.

“I watched them beat Edinburgh last weekend and it is clear from that meeting that we will have to be sharp out of the starts.

“We’ll go there with the same target as we have for every away meeting – and that is to pick up a point.

“If we can manage that and then do the same at Newcastle on Sunday, I think we’ll be pretty much there in terms of the play-offs.”

Panthers continue to be without injured Dane Ulrich Ostergaard and again turn to Paul Starke as a guest.

The Glasgow man – part of the club’s Fours and KO Cup-winning side of last season – was also due to stand in at Lakeside last Friday until that top-of-the-table showdown was postponed due to heavy rain.

The play-off picture is likely to become much clearer in the coming days with the meetings involving Panthers among a host of key clashes.

Elsewhere, Ipswich and Glasgow meet on successive nights (tonight and tomorrow) before the Suffolk side then go to Workington on Saturday.

Incredibly, given the SGB Championship season has considerably less fixtures than in previous years, it looks like all Panthers fixtures may not be completed before the September 9 cut-off date for results to count towards the play-offs.

Rathbone confirmed they are still awaiting alternative dates from Workington and Lakeside following postponements this month.

The city club will also be at the mercy of the weather when they stage their final home meeting, against Berwick, on September 9.