Edinburgh Monarchs boss John Campbell today said it was “great” to welcome back Jozsef Tabaka to the team despite showing the Hungarian rider the door midway through the 2010 season.
Tabaka, who has been plying his trade in the Polish league, has been signed as a short-term reserve replacement for Aussie Micky Dyer, who is sidelined with a foot injury. He makes his return “debut” against Rye House Rockets in tonight’s Premier League fixture at Armadale.
Campbell said: “It’s great to have Jozsef back. When we threw him out two years ago he had just mastered British speedway but has improved since then.” Asked if he regretted releasing him, Campbell replied: “We won the league title that year so it didn’t make any difference. You take decisions at the time and go with them.
“At that particular time it was the right thing to do. I think Jozsef is a more rounded performer now, he scores well in Poland and other parts of Europe, but of course he doesn’t get the same number of matches that we undertake in this country, but I expect him to be quite a good scorer for us.”
Campbell revealed that it was Tabaka himself who pleaded for a team place. “We agreed to disagree during the winter about what he could or couldn’t do and then early on this season he asked about a team spot which wasn’t possible. He asked again in July and once more we couldn’t accommodate him, but circumstances changed and it became possible to offer him a spot.
“He has pushed to rejoin us and he is a likeable young man who does everything right and has been keen to make sure everything is in place for tonight’s match.
And, as it turns out, the 23-year-old is not the only racer keen to join Monarchs.
Campbell added: “Three or four Polish riders a week ask for places in the team because unless you ride in the top division in Poland your season is about to come to an end. Jozsef could be finishing up this weekend if his Polish team get knocked out of their play-offs.”
But how will Tabaka dovetail with tail-end partner Marcel Helfer? Campbell said: “I don’t know how they will get on although I suspect Jozsef to be the more dominant reserve, maybe not from the first match, but pretty quickly thereafter.”
Tabaka is contracted to ride until August 19, but could easily stay until the end of the season because of a recent off-track rift between Derek Sneddon and Dyer. The pair are barely on speaking terms over the undisclosed incident and for the purpose of morale it could be “convenient” for Dyer’s injury to be more serious, allowing Tabaka to remain until October.
“We’ll see what happens,” added Campbell.
Monarchs, who shot down the Rockets in the KO Cup in May, will be keen to repeat that success and to put behind them a heavy 57-36 reverse at Plymouth Devils last weekend, a result which, according to Campbell, has not dented their ambitions of making the league play-offs. “It is very disappointing when we lose any match, but I’m convinced now that just one or two away points will take us into the play-offs. Leicester, who we visit on Sunday, dropped a point last week, so in real terms we have moved into the top six anyway.
“If everybody now wins their home matches we will be in that half dozen. To get to that position by winning home matches, it will become easier if we can pick up something away from home. Newcastle, for instance, were the dominant team to begin with, and are still top of the league, but after that it seems there is an inability among the so-called good teams to pick up the away points.
“We are the only side in the league who have not dropped a home point.”