Speed­way - Panthers in KO Cup semi-fi­nal on Sun­day

The Peterborough Evening Telegraph - - NEWS - By Mark Plum­mer SPEED­WAY COR­RE­SPON­DENT

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.

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