Edinburgh Monarchs’ second-string star Max Clegg says the team has put Saturday’s heavy derby defeat by Glasgow Tigers behind them and are focused on victory against Workington Comets in their Championship clash at Armadale tonight.
Having gone on a run of five league wins on the bounce, many had expected Monarchs to take at least a point from their trip to Ashfield but the scale of Tigers’ 57-34 victory left the Monarchs management team shellshocked.
Clegg admitted: “It was a heavy loss but we have put it behind us now. We have already moved on and our priority now is making sure we get all three points tonight against Workington.”
Asked to pinpoint what Monarchs’ problems were and why they were so easily beaten, Clegg replied: “I’m not sure to be absolutely honest. We were not making starts last week. The team have all spoken about it and the problem has been sorted out. Starts were the key and we didn’t make any against Sheffield at home last week either, and the same thing happened at Glasgow.”
Clegg agreed that Glasgow is a difficult place to go in search of points irrespective of the positive start Monarchs have made to the season.
“It’s a hard place to visit because Glasgow are very strong at home. They are not a weak team, they have got a fantastic team and they make it very hard for any visiting team. If you go there and can’t get out of the gate it’s very hard to win races.
“We weren’t helped in heat five when Sam Masters and Josh Pickering collided with each other. But it was purely a racing incident and such things happen.”
The result at Glasgow emphasised that the Championship division in 2017 isn’t going to be easy. Said Clegg: “The league and all the teams are basically very strong and it’s going to be a struggle for some teams who don’t get off to a strong start.
“We have just got take it one meeting at a time and not think too far ahead. We must try and get as many points as we can on the board, both individually and as a team.
“The more wins we can pick up away from home the better it will be for us providing we don’t slip up at Armadale.
“We have got to turn our home track into something like a fortress. But as Sheffield proved in the cup match, we only won by four points because we were not at our best and that might not be enough for the second leg.”
Clegg has been under intense scrutiny since the season started having being parachuted into the team proper, and he confessed it has been a lot tougher than he first imagined.
“I’ve had a hell of a lot of bike problems which I’ve sorted out now. I was beginning to think it was me. I’ve had a lot of things going on in my head, I don’t quite know what’s been going on. It was like last season all over again. But last year is in the past, you have got to focus on this year. I’m trying my hardest and I’ll get there and sort myself out and will be back to winning way ways soon.”
Clegg will move down to reserve next week and he added: “It will make life easier. When I started off in the main body of the team I didn’t know how tough it would be. I struggled more than I imagined. But it will do me good to move down to reserve again. It will give me a chance to get my confidence back and a chance to get a few points.”
Both teams are missing key riders this evening due to World Championship qualifiers. Workington are without Craig Cook and Newcastle’s Steve Worrall steps in as a guest. Monarchs are missing influential reserve Mark Riss and Berwick’s Dany Gappmaier deputises.
Monarchs are also in action at Peterborough on Sunday again in the Championship.