Three home wins a must says skipper Lambert

Simon Lambert in action.
Simon Lambert in action.
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Captain Simon Lambert insists Panthers cannot afford any slip-ups during a crucial spell in the SGB Championship season.

The city club face three home meetings in the space of eight days as they bid to build on a pleasing start to 2018. They sit top of the early-season standings but have ridden more meetings than all but one other club - Redcar.

Panthers host Workington tomorrow night (7.30pm) before welcoming Edinburgh to the East of England Arena on Sunday (5pm). Those clashes are followed by a May 19 date against Newcastle.

Lambert said: “We’ve only got 10 home meetings all season in the league and three of them are in the next few days,

“It’s a huge spell for us and nine points are a must. We can’t drop any points at home after doing well to pick up three points on the road last week.

“It’s always nice to be top of the table and we want to keep ourselves up there. We were written off by a lot of people at the start of the year, but we’re turning heads.

“Unfortunately the fixture list is far from ideal, but there is no way round it. We all need more time on the bike and we can really do with plenty of laps on our own track.

“With one home and one away meeting against each team, there quite simply isn’t enough racing - especially for people like me who only do one league.

“I need to try to get a ride in the SGB Premiership as well, but it is very difficult to do that when having so few opportunities to impress.”

Lambert believes a blossoming team spirit is helping Panthers to perform on the track.

Their new-look side, which features only two retained riders from 2017 in Lambert and previous skipper Ulrich Ostergaard, has quickly gelled.

Lambert added: We’ve got seven guys who are all team riders and are working well together.

“We’ve got a bit of banter flying round during the week on our Facebook group. We’re having a laugh and we’re enjoying our racing.

“Improving the team spirit was a top priority for me when I was made captain and it is great to see everyone bouncing off each other.”

Panthers return to full-strength after Ostergaard and Emil Grondal missed a narrow defeat at Edinburgh last Friday due to Danish League commitments.

Workington will be without number one Rene Bach and second string Rasmus Jensen. Adam Ellis of Lakeside steps in for Bach with the rider replacement facility covering Jensen’s absence.

Bradley Wilson-Dean, who rode for Panthers last season, makes an East of England Arena return after being snapped up by the Comets on a short-term deal to cover for injury victim Mason Campton. Nicolai Klindt had a brief spell with the city club in their Elite League days.

Edinburgh should provide stern opposition on Sunday. Number one Ricky Wells and brothers Mark and Erik Riss have all scored well at Alwalton in the past.

TEAMS

Panthers: Scott Nicholls, Emil Grondal, Nike Lunna, Michael Palm Toft, Ulrich Ostergaard, Tom Bacon, Simon Lambert.

Workington: Adam Ellis (guest), rider replacement for Rasmus Jensen, Ty Proctor, Dan Bewley, Nicolai Klindt, Kyle Bickley, Bradley Wilson-Dean.

Edinburgh: Ricky Wells, Joel Andersson, Mark Riss, Max Ruml, Erik Riss, Matt Williamson, Josh Pickering.