Monarchs know wins are needed in Berwick double-header

Monarchs travel to Shielfield Park on Saturday - but first they must defeat them at home. Pic: TSPL
Monarchs travel to Shielfield Park on Saturday - but first they must defeat them at home. Pic: TSPL
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Edinburgh Monarchs co-promoter John Campbell is eyeing a weekend double over Berwick Rangers to boost their hopes of reaching the end-of-season speedway play-offs.

As they prepare to face the Bandits home and away this weekend in two vital fixtures, the Monarchs boss said: “Every home match is crucial and we must win them all, and we should beat Berwick tonight.

“We must also win one of four remaining away fixtures we have left. I actually think our trip to Berwick tomorrow night is our most difficult away match simply because Berwick have a very strong team.

“If we win there, great. It will ease the pressure on our other away meetings.”

The Bandits have lost just one home fixture this season – that came against Workington Comets – and Campbell added: “They have seven riders who are all capable of winning races. They brushed aside Glasgow Tigers very easily last weekend. I’m not over confident of picking up anything at Berwick, if we get a point that would be a great result for us. If we can get three that would be even better, and four would be just perfect.”

Monarchs have been scoring points for fun in their previous two Armadale matches, notching up 69 points against Redcar Bears a fortnight ago and rattling up 65 against Scunthorpe Scorpions last week.

Asked if the poor opposition made it difficult to gauge just how effective the changes Monarchs made to their side have been, Campbell replied: “It’s obvious the changes we made have made the team much stronger.

“Richie Worrall, for instance, was absolutely superb on Friday and would have been so no matter who the opposition was. And it’s nice to have a third member of the team guaranteed to score double figures. It’s also nice that Josh Pickering has come to the party as well.

“We have a good team now, but not one we could have put together at the start of the season, but circumstances played into our hands.

“We had been interested in a rider of Worrall’s capabilities for a while now. I haven’t spoken to him about his time with Glasgow when he was forced out which opened up the opportunity for us to sign him.

“I congratulate him on scoring maximums for us and he goes home!

“I don’t think the big scores at home will stop because we have a completely different situation now. We had a couple of senior riders saying we were not good enough, and now some of our junior riders are saying they are trying to keep up with these same team-mates.

“They have now got it into their heads that they can win now.”

Swede Victor Palovaara has taken to life with Monarchs swimmingly and over the last fortnight has formed an opening pairing with No.1 rider Ricky Wells that has produced a welter of 5-1 advantages.

Said Campbell: “Victor has lots of experience riding in Britain as well as riding in home country. He is riding now above the level of what he has been doing in Sweden and it is helping him as we are seeing each week at Armadale.”

Palovaara said: “I have been quite happy with how I have been riding. I have been gating quite well which is something I focus on because if I’m in front people are going to have to pass me.

“I think the team are strong enough now to be in the play-offs and that is our goal.”

Campbell thinks the run-in to see who claims the top four berths for the play-offs is going to be intense. “Lakeside Hammers will probably stay clear at the top of the table,” he added, “and Workington Comets will either finish second or possibly top if they get all their matches completed.

“That leaves four clubs, including ourselves, battling it out for the other two places. We definitely need one more win on the road to have a chance, we will just have to wait and see if we can do it.

“If we make the play-offs we have a fair chance of success, but I’m not absolutely sure we are going to make that.”