After an enforced week off, Edinburgh Monarchs recommence their push for a Premier League speedway play-off spot when they visit bottom club Redcar Bears on Teesside tonight.
Following Glasgow Tigers’ surprising defeat by lowly Scunthorpe Scorpions last weekend before the Lincolnshire outfit then went on to incredibly win away at Peterborough Panthers on Tuesday night, Monarchs boss Alex Harkess insisted there are now no easy matches for Monarchs – who travel to the Scorpions on Sunday – in their bid for a third championship crown in a row.
Nor does Harkess contend that both league fixtures, which run either side of a Premier League KO Cup clash with Glasgow, are “must-win” affairs. “There is no such thing as a must-win match away from home,” he said. “It’s all about us winning our home meetings that is the crux of the matter. Anything we get on the road is a bonus.
“Although Redcar and Scunthorpe are at the bottom end of the league, we simply cannot take anything for granted, especially in the wake of what happened to Glasgow and Peterborough.”
With Monarchs starting to show some decent form – especially from Ryan Fisher – and with new signing Mark Riss winning his first heat for the Capital club against Berwick Bandits a fortnight ago, Harkess feels now is the time to hammer home the message to their rivals that a late season surge could be about to unfold
Said Harkess: “I certainly hope that will be the case because there are still an awful lot of points to be fought for to get into the top six.”
One rider familiar to Monarchs tonight is Bear’s new capture Tobias Busch, who wore the blue-and-gold at Armadale back in 2010 but returned home to Germany after a short spell feeling his machinery was not up to Premier League standard.
“I spoke to him at the British Grand Prix last weekend,” said Harkess, “and he was just happy to be back in British speedway again. He feels he is much better prepared this time to do better and also make the breakthrough he had hoped for when he was with us. He is a pleasant young man.”
The struggle Redcar have had this season is underlined by the fact that Busch, due to his assessed seven-point starting average, has already assumed the No.1 position, with previous incumbent Lasse Bjerre dropping down a mark
The 28 year-old recalled life was tough for him in the Premier League when he joined Edinburgh. He said: “I wasn’t at Edinburgh for long, but I had a good time with them. However, my machinery wasn’t the best. But all that has changed. I’m older now with more experience behind me.”
Redcar thought they had put some daylight between themselves and Scunthorpe by defeating them 48-41 seven days ago with, Busch picking up five points. However Scunthorpe’s stunning win at Peterborough has now left the Bears propping up the table.
With four meeting points up for grabs, Monarchs will be disappointed if they don’t leave with something. Harkess added: “It’s always better sitting at the top of the table looking down so it’s important we do our best this evening and also on Sunday as well.”