Edinburgh MONARCHS speedway boss John Campbell today urged some of his misfiring team to start scoring the points they are capable of – otherwise changes will be made before the Capital side begin their Premier League programme next month.
Monarchs are currently in the middle of their League Cup campaign but have won just one match in the northern qualifying section and are currently joint bottom of the group with Glasgow Tigers.
They collapsed at home to Redcar Bears on Friday and were outshone by Newcastle Diamonds at Brough Park at the weekend. Alarm bells are already ringing among some supporters, who claim this year’s Monarchs squad is one of the poorest ever.
Campbell admits he is concerned at how things have gone so far and says No. 1 rider Andrew Tully and skipper Matthew Wethers, who only scored two points and one point respectively at Newcastle, need to improve drastically instead of dragging the team down.
Redcar’s 48-42 win was a total surprise and demolished the claim that Monarchs would be unbeaten at Armadale in 2012.
Campbell said: “I have got concerns about a number of riders who are not performing as they should be. I never contemplated us losing to Redcar, in my mind they were weaker without the missing Justin Sedgemen, and to lose that match was a very big shock.”
Since winning the Scottish Open title on the opening night of the season, Tully has lost his way but Campbell doesn’t think the No. 1 race-jacket is proving too big a burden for the Isle of Man-born racer.
“I don’t think it is too tough for him”, said Campbell, “Last year everything was so easy for Andrew – he went out and rode a race and did exceptionally well. This year he seldom makes a decent start from the gate and gets into a situation where he probably over-rides to try and make up for that poor start.
“At Newcastle, for instance, I thought he was out of control in his first race trying to make up for his poor start. He was more settled in his last two rides and did all right. Andrew still has a huge desire to win every race and once he settles down I’m sure he’ll do much better.”
Captain Wethers is causing real headaches with his almost negligible scores casting a shadow over the whole squad, but Campbell refuted suggestions that the Aussie, who has been at the club for ten years, is now on the wane.
He insisted: “There is no doubt Matthew is going through a bad patch but he is not at an age where he should be on the wane. He should still be in a position to reach his peak, but every poor race Matthew has, piles more pressure on him.
“However he is also strong-willed enough to overcome this and return to a points scoring position, yet a lot of matches have passed and he hasn’t scored the points he should be getting and nobody is more worried than Matthew himself, it’s a terrible situation he is in.”
Campbell is not going to wait forever, and if improvement isn’t on the horizon, he hinted he will do what it takes to get Monarchs back on an even keel. He said: “It’s vital that we win our home meetings but if we are losing to teams like Redcar, obviously we have concerns over the visit of section leaders Workington Comets on Friday.
“We should have enough fire-power in the team to win at Armadale. If we cannot get to that situation, we will have to look at other options.
“When our league campaign begins in May we need to finish in the top six to contest the play-offs and we will do whatever it takes to achieve that and I hope the riders’ in place at the moment will do that job for us.”
Campbell added that a key plank of Monarchs team building strategy this year was to stiffen up the reserves berth, but said: “It’s disappointing to have two reserves who should be more than capable of doing their job, only to find guys like Ritchie Worrall and Kyle Howarth are getting huge scores for their respective teams of Newcastle and Workington.
“Both our guys (Micky Dyer and Charles Wright) are scoring four and five points each but are up against others who are scoring fifteen, I don’t know how we win this game.”