Edinburgh Monarchs boss Alex Harkess pulls no punches after Scunthorpe Scorpions defeat

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Frustrated Edinburgh Monarchs boss Alex Harkess has refused to rule out making changes to his underperforming team after back-to-back home league defeats.

The Championship outfit narrowly lost to the Redcar Bears a fortnight ago and were comfortably beaten last night as the Scunthorpe Scorpions ran out 54-36 winners at Armadale.

It was very much a makeshift side for the hosts with No.1 and skipper Josh Pickering failing to overcome the shoulder injury he sustained last month despite declaring himself fit earlier this week. Paco Castagna was also absent due to a Grand Prix qualifier in Italy and Craig Cook pulled out just hours prior to the meeting citing a back problem.

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Guests Richie Worrall and Leon Flint stepped in to fill the void but, collectively, the Monarchs had no answer to a well-drilled Scunthorpe side who were better in every department.

Monarchs were not at the races against Scunthorpe. Picture: Jack CupidoMonarchs were not at the races against Scunthorpe. Picture: Jack Cupido
Monarchs were not at the races against Scunthorpe. Picture: Jack Cupido

Monarchs now face a fight to save their season having already been eliminated from the BSN Series and KO Cup. They must finish in the top six if they are to secure a play-off berth. However, on current form, even that looks a tall order with the side having won just two of their nine fixtures so far in 2023.

"When the team's not winning you have to consider everything - it's as simple as that," Harkess told the Evening News. "If you're winning and everyone is performing then there is no problem. But if you're losing at home then we have to look at all possibilities.

"We didn't ride well enough. If you go down the team there were faults with everybody. I don't doubt for one second they weren't trying their best but it just wasn't happening. We started off with a very good 5-1 and then lost the momentum in heat two, and that's the killer.

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"If we could build up a bit momentum, everybody feeds off of that. When you have rider replacement it means the two reserves are going to have at least two extra rides, but between the two of them they only scored two points. You can't do anything at home no matter the circumstances, you're fighting a losing battle just with that. Our reserves are better than what they're showing.

"We ride as a team. We've got to score at least 46 points. It was already gone by the last couple of races. It's very frustrating. Leon Flint came in on five minutes notice, on somebody else's bike, and I can't ask for any more than that. He did everything he possibly could.

"We're not used to this. We want to be dominating at home and that's where you build your season from. At the moment, we're all over the place. There's no consistency."

Harkess admitted he was surprised to get the call from Cook so late in the day.

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He added: "He said he was at hospital with a bad back at 2.30pm so you've not got a lot of time to get someone else from the other side of the county. If Leon hadn't been at Berwick, who knows who we would have got.

"We need to know what's going on with all the riders. They're not performing as we had expected them to do and that's all we're asking.

"Six teams go into the play-offs with only three missing out so I still believe we can make them. That said, we have to get the team performing. We have to try and get a bit of confidence and even get them scoring to at least their averages would be a start."

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