Mark Riss, who dislocated his fingers in a horrifying crash against Ipswich Witches at Armadale in June, is expected to return to the saddle for Edinburgh Monarchs within the next two or three weeks, according to Monarchs team manager Alex Harkess.
Riss’s Premiership side Wolverhampton Wolves have signed Ellis Perks on a 28-day contract to cover his absence, but Harkess insists this was something of a panic move by the Midlanders.
Harkess said: “Because of changes in the averages, Wolves were finding it more difficult to get a guest for him. They lost a home match recently and when that happens the world comes crashing down around you, hence they made the change.
“I gather Mark is due to get the plaster off some time this week, although he has been riding in his back garden on his track with the plaster on. Everything is fine except for one finger which was the main problem and the only problem I understand. We hope to have him back in our side by the 1st of August and he hopes he will meet that date.”
Asked if he was satisfied with the job his Monarchs stand-in Theo Pijper is doing, Harkess said: “He is doing what we expect Theo to do, I’ll say no more than that. Whenever Mark returns we will look at the situation regarding Theo’s position.”
After a week off, Monarchs return to Championship action tonight with a visit to Ipswich Witches, who are second in the table behind new leaders Glasgow Tigers. Monarchs have dropped down to third, which makes the clash with the Witches even more significant. Harkess said: “A trip to Ipswich is aways a difficult task and tonight is no exception.
“The last time we were there I felt if we had done ourselves justice we would have left with a point instead of a defeat. We hope we can go one better this time. Our main aim is to get into that top four position and take it from there.
“Glasgow were always going to go top because they had so many matches in hand. But Ipswich have ridden more matches than us, then there’s a gap to the rest. I always thought Ipswich would be one of the top four clubs and I haven’t changed my view on that.”
Monarchs face an equally important journey to Newcastle Diamonds on Sunday. The Tynesiders have snapped up former skipper Stuart Robson as an injury replacement for Lewis Rose, who broke his collarbone when the sides clashed at Armadale two weeks ago. Harkess said: “There is no question that Newcastle is a place, probably more than Ipswich, where we have to come away with something.
“We should have won at Newcastle earlier in the season but we got a draw despite leading by four points going into the last race. Newcastle have strengthened again so it will be another hard match for us.
“But we have got to start picking up points away from home to help seal our qualification.”
Harkess added: “Ricky Wells has dropped off the pace a little and we need to get him back to where he was, the recent switch in his riding order to number three I don’t think has helped him.”