Monarchs chief backs underfire duo to find the right lines

Max Ruml
Max Ruml
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Ednburgh Monarchs team manager Alex Harkess today dismissed suggestions that the axe is set to fall on some members of the squad by insisting new boys American Max Ruml and Swede Joel Andersson must be given time to prove themselves.

However, Harkess did concede that a lack of race winners cost them victory against Peterborough on Sunday which is a cause for concern.

Joel Andersson

Joel Andersson

Speaking ahead of their mammoth trip to Purfleet in Essex to play new entrants Lakeside Hammers in the Championship tonight, Harkess said: “It is a concern that we only produced four race winners against Peterborough because had we had more we would have won the match for sure.

“We did not win enough races and that was the bottom line.”

But Harkess stressed changing the team was not the answer, and said Edinburgh are noted for their patience in nurturing new talent and not making knee-jerk reactions for the sake of simply appeasing supporter unhappiness.

In fact it’s Monarchs’ heat leaders who have been light on race wins and this is piling the pressure on Ruml and Andersson to perform beyond their expectations.

Said Harkess: “I have nothing to say about any changes; we are not in a position to make any changes at the moment in any case because the averages won’t allow it. We will stick with the side we have at present. At the end of the day our heat leaders did not win enough races at Peterborough.

“The rest of the team did what we expect from them. There is nothing happening at the moment on this matter.”

Harkess said singling Ruml and Andersson out for criticism is grossly unfair, and pointed out: “After just one home league match and one away, it’s about two months too early to be talking about possible changes to the side.

“Time will ultimately tell whether we are right or wrong. Max and Joel have both struggled to get round Armadale, but it’s not down to any lack of effort on their behalf. We did not set out to have two newcomers in the team but circumstances dictated that and we were left with no choice; we’ll just have to see how it goes.

“If our heat leaders can go to a match and score 25 points between them then we will be in with a shout everywhere we go, it’s as simple as that.”

Asked if making the play-offs will be a lot tougher this season, Harkess replied: “It far too early to say that.”

Monarchs will be without No 1 race Ricky Wells who is riding in a GP qualifier in Slovakia. Rye House star Edward Kennett will be his guest replacement.

Lakeside have made a decent start to their Championship campaign and also top their Championship Shield section. Furthermore, they recently put fancied Ipswich Witches out of the KO Cup.

Harkess added: “It will be a difficult match for us but if we can leave with a point I’ll be satisfied with that – and Kennett goes well round Lakeside.”