‘Wounded animals’ just kept on fighting

Robert Lambert in action.
Robert Lambert in action.
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Joint Panthers boss Dale Allitt reckons lesser teams would have crumbled during an injury plagued season.

The city team are almost certain of a place in the Premier League play-offs as they continue to defy the odds.

Their injury problems continued when teenage ace Robert Lambert – their new number one – crashed out of a 49-41 defeat at the hands of Edinburgh at the East of England Showground. Club bosses were still waiting to discover the extent of possible back and wrist damage to the 17 year-old yesterday.

“There is no doubt in my mind that a lot of teams would crumble if having to deal with the sort of adversity we have faced during 2015,” said Allitt.

“A terrific team effort, on and off the track, has kept us at the right end of the table throughout the season and I feel we have used the guest system particularly well.

“We are a wounded animal now, but we will be a different beast when we have all seven of our riders fit. We just need to have that little bit of luck and hopefully we get it at the most important stage of the season.

“I don’t fear any team in the play-offs, but I am confident there will be a lot of sides who don’t want to face Panthers.”

Panthers’ injury hell began on the opening lap of the season when they lost Adam Roynon and number one Olly Allen’s campaign was ended by serious ankle damage later in March.

Stand-in skipper Lewis Blackbird had two spells out with back and rib trouble after a heavy crash in late May while Robert Lambert hurt a hip in a televised tumble at Berwick in July and could now face further injury problems after a spectacular crash on Sunday.

And, with Simon Lambert and Ostergaard currently out with a broken shoulder blade and broken hand respectively, it means the only rider from the initial one-to-seven not to be injured is Ollie Greenwood. He was released at the end of June after a miserable run of form.

Michael Palm Toft, the replacement for Roynon, has so far managed to avoid injury in 2015 although he did miss an away meeting at former club Scunthorpe with chicken pox.

Panthers don’t race again until next Friday (August 21) when they host Newcastle.