'Every match is now titanic' for Edinburgh Monarchs as chase for silverware heats up

Edinburgh Monarchs co-promoter Alex Harkess (right) with rider Theo PijperEdinburgh Monarchs co-promoter Alex Harkess (right) with rider Theo Pijper
Edinburgh Monarchs co-promoter Alex Harkess (right) with rider Theo Pijper
Edinburgh Monarchs co-promoter Alex Harkess says it is shaping up to be a hotly-contested couple of weeks for the Capital outfit.

The Monarchs welcome the Redcar Bears to Armadale tonight for the second leg of their Championship play-off quarter-final tie, boosted by a 12-point advantage following last Sunday's first leg 51-39 win on Teesside.

Skipper Sam Masters and Co then make the short journey to Ashfield on Sunday to face fierce rivals the Glasgow Tigers in the KO Cup semi-finals first leg, a venue they have already won at in the Championship this season.

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And Harkess admits he wouldn't have it any other way with the Monarchs still very much in the hunt for not just one but two pieces of silverware.

"We're in the position that we wanted to be in at this stage of the season," Harkess told the Evening News. "Every match is titanic now, it's as simple as that.

"We went down to Redcar last week with the belief that we could get a victory. Any win on the road is acceptable, let alone a 12-point one so we were pretty determined from the off. I think from the earlier races you could see we were going to match them so it went very well.

"But nothing is a formality. We're clearly favourites to progress tonight and I wouldn't expect us to blow that under any circumstances but nevertheless, we'll get on with the job and make sure we're putting ourselves under no pressure by allowing them to get back into it. Then it's onto Glasgow on Sunday in the KO Cup."

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Harkess revealed it is highly unlikely Anders Rowe will return tonight with the youngster still hampered by a knee ligament problem. Rider replacement will cover his programmed rides with Jason Edwards also guesting at reserve.

Harkess added: "I don't expect to see Anders, although I haven't heard for definite. He has a ligament problem in his knee and these kinds of injuries don't heal very quickly. You only need to twist it the wrong way and you set it back again so that's a concern."

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