To some, it is a meeting Edinburgh Monarchs could well do without. But team manager Alex Harkess insists the trip to Sheffield Tigers tonight will not impact on the push to reach the play-off Grand Final.
Irrespective of the result at Owlerton, Monarchs’ top priority will be to ensure that all seven riders avoid any sort of injury as they bid for their fourth championship crown.
Monarchs are visiting Sheffield for a rearranged Premier League speedway clash which was rained off last month.
Harkess said: “Obviously the fixture is not ideal for us, coming as it does when we are in the middle of our play-off group meetings, which are of more importance. However, this was the date Sheffield offered us so we just have to get on with it.
“In truth, though, the schedule some of our riders have been running lately, this will not be a major inconvenience to them. But because we face Workington Comets at Armadale tomorrow night in our penultimate play-off group fixture, we just hope that the team come through this match unscathed. We would have had to travel back to Sheffield on a Thursday night sooner or later. It could have been worse, we could have been contesting the Grand Final tomorrow or even a cup final. Let’s just get it out of the way and that’s it done with.”
It is no secret that Monarchs have been frustrated that some of their league rivals have dragged their feet in rescheduling washed-out fixtures against them, and indeed the Capital outfit still have a routine fixture to undertake at Workington’s Derwent Park which will not take place until October.
But Harkess, perhaps wearing his British Speedway Promoters’ Association hat, said: “ I don’t know how many times a date has been offered to us and a date refused. But whether teams have been slow in catching up with some of their outstanding fixtures, I’ll be diplomatic and say I can’t really answer that.”
Sheffield have a raft of injury problems and it is unclear what the make-up of their starting line-up will be. So it is not inconceivable that Monarchs might just come away with an unexpected victory without taking too many risks round the Tigers’ very fast bowl.