Speedway - Panthers in KO Cup semi-final on Sunday
Panthers owner Ged Rathbone has called on supporters to forget all fears over the future and back the club’s trophy bid.
The city team take on Glasgow Tigers at the East of England Arena on Sunday (5pm) in the first leg of an SGB Championship KO Cup semi-final. The second leg of the tie then takes place in Scotland on Tuesday.
It’s a mouthwatering showdown as Panthers step up their bid for a second helping of silverware after already capturing the Fours crown this year.
Rathbone was hit by a ‘fivefigure’ fine by the Speedway Control Bureau last week and a club statement said that had put the club’s future in ‘serious jeopardy’.
But he insists he and his riders won’t be distracted by off-track matters - and he has urged supporters not to be either.
Rathbone said: “We’re not going to allow any off-track matters to get in the way of us achieving our goal of lifting the KO Cup and becoming double-winners.
“We’re here to win speedway meetings, put on a show for our supporters and hope- fully end up with another trophy. We’ll deal with everything else at the end of the season.
“We ask all supporters to put any worries aside and show their support by turning out in force.
“The best thing they can do is pack the East of England Arena and create a brilliant atmosphere to help us take the next step towards our target.
“I can assure them I will do everything I possibly can to ensure the club survives. Hopefully everyone will show me it is worth saving.”
The KO Cup contest is the second of two home meetings in the space of three days for Panthers. They are also in action at Alwalton tomorrow night (Friday) when facing Edinburgh in their final SGB Championship fixture. A victory against the Monarchs will lift Panthers into fifth place.
Panthers could be without reserve Tom Bacon for the remainder of the season due to a shoulder problem. They have called up teenager Jack Parkinson-Blackburn - a teammate of Bacon at National League side Birmingham - to guest against Edinburgh and he will also step in on Sunday if needed.
Glasgow also draft in a reserve replacement as James Sarjeant covers for the injured Tom Perry. They operate rider replacement as well for Nike Lunna.
Simon Lambert leads the way for Panthers against Workington.