PREVIEW: A semi-final place at stake for Peterborough Panthers

Rory Schlein is an Ipswich dangerman.
Rory Schlein is an Ipswich dangerman.
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Peterborough Panthers face a must-win clash with Ipswich in the Championship Shield at the East of England Arena today (June 17, 5pm).

With the key action in the other sections completed, Scunthorpe and Workington have booked their semi-final places, whilst Lakeside have won Panthers’ Southern group.

But victory over the Witches will give Panthers the best record of any of the second-placed clubs, and therefore they would take the last place in the semi-finals.

It’s a meeting which was twice postponed due to rain earlier in the season, but with the position now clear after results elsewhere, it has become one of the biggest matches of the campaign so far.

Opponents Ipswich have remarkably failed to score a point in the section so far, having lost at home to both Panthers and Lakeside, but they still travel with a top three capable of scoring major points at any venue.

Rory Schlein and Danny King both know every inch of the Alwalton circuit, whilst Italian star Nico Covatti has recently returned from injury.

The visitors are forced into one change with German newcomer Michael Haertel unavailable, and with no senior facility available the Witches bring in Eastbourne’s Georgie Wood to guest.

Panthers are at full strength and unchanged from Friday’s (June 15) sensational win at Scunthorpe, which sends them into the meeting with confidence high.

Manager Carl Johnson said: “It’s a different situation and a different competition and that’s where our focus has to be now.

“Obviously we want to win the meeting and get ourselves into the semi-finals, which gives everyone two more meetings, which would be good for the riders and the fans.”

PETERBOROUGH: Scott Nicholls, Ellis Perks, Bradley Wilson-Dean, Michael Palm Toft, Ulrich Ostergaard, Simon Lambert, Tom Bacon.

IPSWICH: Rory Schlein, Cameron Heeps, Nico Covatti, Georgie Wood, Danny King, Connor Mountain, Danyon Hume.