Josh Pickering: Edinburgh Monarchs need double win over Scunthorpe Scorpions
Some might say that Edinburgh Monarchs have more chance of breaking into Fort Knox than gatecrashing the Championship League top four, which is the pathway to the play-offs and a chance to race for the league title.
Tonight’s clash at Armadale against Scunthorpe Scorpions and Sunday’s return fixture at the Eddie Wright Raceway are must-win matches for Monarchs if they are to prove the sceptics wrong and qualify against the odds.
Monarchs’ Australian ace Josh Pickering is well aware of the uphill battle his side face, but said: “I think we must make the most of both meetings, we can’t let them take a point this evening otherwise that would boost their confidence for Sunday.
“I feel that the top four we now have are capable of scoring 40 points between them, we just need William (Lawson) to chip in with five or six points, and if the reserves can pick up something from heat two, we’ll be okay.”
Asked if it is realistic to believe that Monarchs can still make the play-offs with so much ground to make up, Pickering replied: “To be honest I have no idea if we’ll make it through or not, or what is required to get there, we must win every match as it comes and hope some of our other rivals slip up.
“But if is not meant to be, it’s not meant to be.”
Sam Masters’ return to bolster the play-off bid was welcomed by Pickering who said: “Now that Sam is back he will hopefully take the pressure off Ricky (Wells) a bit. Sam is expected to score a lot of points because he is a No. 1 rider, and he is already filling that role.
“It will also ease the pressure on myself and hopefully everyone in the team knows what we need to do now.”
Pickering added he is still glad to be in the team following the departure of Swedish duo Victor Palovaara and Joel Andersson.
“Edinburgh tend to stick by their riders longer than most. I could easily have been in Joel’s position after my bad shoulder injury kept me sidelined for five weeks, but the management kept faith in me, and I’m grateful to them for that.”
Monarchs will field new rider James Sarjeant, who was released by Glasgow Tigers on Wednesday. He replaces Aussie Matt Marson. Masters, meanwhile, misses Sunday’s meeting due to a pre-arranged match in Poland.