The search is on to fill Tabaka’s vacant seat

Picture: Ron Macneill
Picture: Ron Macneill
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Edinburgh MONARCHS boss John Campbell today revealed he is “searching the world” to find a short-term replacement for Jozsef Tabaka, who broke his foot riding in a Grand Prix qualifying meeting in Hungary at the weekend.

Edinburgh MONARCHS boss John Campbell today revealed he is “searching the world” to find a short-term replacement for Jozsef Tabaka, who broke his foot riding in a Grand Prix qualifying meeting in Hungary at the weekend.

Campbell isn’t keen to use the rider replacement facility for Tabaka, especially with tough Premier League clashes coming up against Workington Comets and Leicester Lions at Armadale in the next fortnight.

And, with Monarchs having lost twice at home in successive weeks, Campbell, despite seeing his patched-up squad triumph in spectacular fashion in the KO Cup at Newcastle Diamonds on Sunday, wants to try and bring an overseas rider in for a 28-day period.

Campbell told the Evening News: “When you get the two worst injuries in the team that we’ve currently got, with Jozsef at No.5 and Mitchell (Davey) at No. 7 in the averages, you cannot really replace them – it’s a tough situation to be in.

“But we are not giving up. We know any match from now on is going to be very tough for us at home. We are basically searching the world right now to see if we can bring someone in to cover for Jozsef for a month. It’s such a big loss to have Jozsef missing at No.5 – these are hard times for us. And we are restricted as to who we can bring in. We’re looking for a rider who has not ridden in a major league before so that we can accommodate him on a five-point average.”

Campbell is wary that if Monarchs are to win their place in the end-of-season play-offs, which means clinching a top six spot in the table, then any more slip-ups round the Lothian Arena could scuttle their aspirations. The slick track surface which Monarchs riders’ have faced over the last fortnight have caused a great deal of debate lately, with both skipper Derek Sneddon and No. 1 Craig Cook voicing their concerns that dusty conditions can play into opposing teams hands, as witnessed by recent defeats to Redcar Bears and Newcastle Diamonds.

But Campbell defended his track curator Alan “Doc” Bridgett, and said even if the track had been sublime last Friday, Newcastle would still have won.

“Whilst the track may not have been perfect, had it been absolutely perfect, what difference would it have made?

“Probably Craig would have passed Ludvig Lindgren instead of losing to him – outwith that, what really would have happened? The track won’t all of a sudden turn Newcastle, who are a very good team, into a bad one, and I don’t believe the surface on Friday was a critical factor in us losing.”

Responding to Cook and Sneddon’s criticisms, Campbell continued: “They will say what they are thinking at the time, but you just have to look at what happened in heat 15 last week.

“Theo (Pijper), a man far from fit, produced some fantastic overtakes from the gate, so despite some of our team saying it was hard to pass, Theo found a way.”

If Monarchs are to defeat Workington on Friday then, as was the case at Newcastle, everybody has to be on their game.

Campbell was especially pleased that Claus Vissing collected eight points at Brough Park in their cup success, but doubts persist that the Dane cannot get to grips with the tight confines of Armadale. Said Campbell: “Claus is as concerned as anybody with his form at home and is doing everything he can to improve it. But he has been disappointing at home recently, and we need more points from him.”

Monarchs home league clash against Ipswich Witches on July 5 has now become the League Cup semi-final against the Suffolk outfit.

“While it would be nice to get to the final of this competition, we are hanging in for a top-six finish, which is more important. But a lot could depend on how we can cover for our injured personnel.”

Meanwhile, Edinburgh No.1 Craig Cook has been named in Great Britain’s initial ten-man squad for next month’s World Cup clash against Denmark, Sweden, and USA.

GB team boss Neil Middleditch must pick four riders for the event at King’s Lynn and said: “Craig has never appeared in a World Cup before, but his recent form has warranted his inclusion.

“I’ll be watching him before I have to make a final selection decision in two weeks time.”