Edinburgh Monarchs face an injury-ravaged Ipswich Witches team in Suffolk tonight knowing that they must take a point at least from the match to keep their Premier League play-off hopes alive and the chance of capturing a fourth speedway championship crown.
And Monarchs’ hopes lie in the team’s hands according to Alex Harkess, who said: “We know what we need to do and it’s up to us to make sure it happens.”
Ipswich cannot qualify for the Grand Final after being knocked out by Group B leaders Workington Comets who have completed their programme and have eight points.
But a potential seven points are available to Monarchs who have four points already from their two matches so far and host the return clash at Armadale tomorrow night.
Harkess added: “We need a point tonight, there are no ifs buts or maybes. Can we do it? We have got to, otherwise our season is over, basically.
“You have to bear in mind that Workington went to Ipswich a week ago and won and that must be our incentive. It’s all down to what our riders do on the night, if they want it badly enough they’ll get it and what has gone on before makes no difference now.”
Monarchs beat Workington 52-38 at Armadale last Friday to keep them in the race and while the scoreline flattered the home team to a degree, Harkess was satisfied with the outcome. “I don’t agree that the result flattered us, we kept giving Workington gifts to keep them in the match, and that was our own fault, but in the end I think we did very well.”
If Monarchs are to triumph then much will depend on how lacklustre duo Derek Sneddon and Claus Vissing perform. Sneddon, who is now back down at reserve, has admitted a loss of personal confidence and his four-point total against Workington, which was replicated by his Vissing, fell below acceptable standards. “Both of them must produce something,” said Harkess. “But everybody else has got to do the same for us to have a chance. We are a team and we have to stand and fall together.
“They know what is required and they must get on and do it. I don’t know if Derek being at reserve again will make any difference or not. At Sheffield earlier in the season he won the match for us at reserve, so who knows.”