Edinburgh Monarchs speedway bosses have reassured struggling reserve star Max Clegg they will do everything they can to help him recapture the form which captivated audiences at the end of last season.
Clegg’s performances away from home are causing some concern and the young Englishman has received personal abuse on social media following his failure to score at Workington Comets two weeks ago.
Monarchs co-boss John Campbell has had discussions with the 19-year-old in a bid to raise his spirits. Campbell said: “I’m just trying to give him some encouragement and let him know that we do care about what he is doing.
“If there is anything we can do to help him we will try to do that. That was the basis of our chat.
“Sometimes if you leave riders to think about these problems they can get down about it and not perform to the best of their ability. His scoring away from home has not been good and to an extent Max is letting himself down because he is so much better away from home than he is showing at the moment.
“Last season he was probably our most exciting rider at Armadale, not that he’s had much chance to prove that so far because of the weather.”
Campbell believes Clegg’s confidence has taken a big knock after he was targeted by a keyboard warrior.
“Max admitted to me he is getting personal messages on his Facebook page from someone claiming to be an Edinburgh fan. This individual is having a real go at Max saying he isn’t good enough and should not be in the team.
“Okay we can all read on the internet things that might generally criticise an individual or more than one individual. It’s not often that you expect to get personal messages from somebody Max does not even know. After all Max is still a very young man.”
Clegg declined to expand on his social media torment and insisted he will do everything he can to silence the doubters.
“I have had a different start to the season this year compared to the start I’ve had before due to various reasons.
“I have never really been that good away from home so this year I want to do everything to change that. It’s still very early in the season and I have only had a few meetings, once things get fully going hopefully I can bang in a few points on the road. I’m just trying to forget about the bad meetings and move on.”
Asked if is upset by criticism, Clegg replied: “I don’t let it get to me but what can you do, it happens. This is just one fan, a lot of other Edinburgh supporters are behind me and cheer me on which is great.”
Campbell says Clegg is not the rider he was in 2015 and Clegg responded: “It’s just that I’m struggling really. I don’t feel as exciting on a bike as I did last season. I’m determined to turn things around despite the fact I’m having issues with my engines.”
Clegg admits the Workington clash at Derwent Park was not a blissful experience for him. He said: “Not too much to say on that, I have already forgotten about it.
“I dd struggle and I was very disappointed in myself.”
Clegg is under the spotlight because he is Monarchs’ senior reserve and was expected to take 16-year-old partner Dan Bewley under his wing. Bewley has outscored Clegg in the last two away fixtures. Clegg insists he is not feeling the strain, saying: “I don’t think about it like that at all. Some people may think I should be getting more points than Dan who is just starting out in speedway. I just want to jump on my bike and do the best I can.”
Monarchs entertain Glasgow Tigers tonight at Armadale in a rearranged League Cup fixture, the Ashfield men already through to the semi-finals having gained the required point they needed with a 45-45 draw at Berwick Bandits recently.
But it’s not a meaningless match with bragging rights at stake. Clegg said: “You have got to win as many meetings as you can no matter what they are and we will be trying for the victory. If we beat Glasgow it will prove to them when we race them in the league later in the season that it might be easier for us if we work as a team.
“It is disappointing that we did not make the semi-finals and have lost our hold on the trophy. But it has happened and we must look to future meetings now and try to win them all.”
Glasgow’s new-look squad finally all clicked last Sunday as they demolished Premier League hopefuls Peterborough Panthers 62-30 at Ashfield.
And while Glasgow’s top-end quartet has been the focus of attention, their lower order are scoring well and this could spell trouble for Monarchs.