Talking points: Why the Witches simply must win tonight

Danny King chasing Richard Lawson in heat 4.

Danny King chasing Richard Lawson in heat 4 at Foxhall the last time the two teams met in Suffolk, which resulted in a Stars victory. - Credit: Steve Waller -www.stephenwaller.com

Ipswich Witches entertain King's Lynn Stars tonight at Foxhall Stadium in a meeting they simply cannot afford to lose. MIKE BACON takes a look.

Riders getting ready ahead of the clash against the Belle Vue Aces.

It's at Foxhall the Witches have slipped up this season - Credit: Steve Waller -www.stephenwaller.com

PLAY-OFF PICTURE

The Witches home form is what will have cost them should they not reach the play-offs this season.

However, they are still in with a shout although they cannot afford anymore slip-ups. And slip-up is just what they did against tonight's opponents King's Lynn the last time the two sides met at Foxhall.

The Witches looked to be heading for all three points, before two 5-1 reversals in the final two races saw them lose 44-46. It was a crushing blow.

It really is a case of which of Sheffield or Ipswich are going to grab the final fourth spot in the Premiership play-off race. The Tigers come to Foxhall next Thursday, before the Suffolk side head to Yorkshire at the end of August.

Paul Starke celebrates.

Paul Starke celebrates victory at King's Lynn the last time the two sides met. - Credit: Steve Waller -www.stephenwaller.com

LOCAL RIVALRY

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Despite the Witches having lost the last time at home to Lynn, they have won in Norfolk twice already this campaign.

Both times the Suffolk side won with races to spare. Ipswich have also picked up bonus points on their travels at Peterborough and Sheffield, which makes their home form even more galling..

So, tonight, not just points are up for grabs, but local pride.

Jason Crump in the pits at King's Lynn ahead of the meeting.

Jason Crump, sadly missing again. - Credit: Steve Waller -www.stephenwaller.com

NO JASON

Again Jason Crump misses out for the Witches, although Rory Schlein is a more than capable guest replacement.

Crump hasn't had much luck since his awful crash at Wolverhampton back in May.

Last week he had a coming together with his Witches team-mate Craig Cook at Plymouth and aggravated the rib injury he suffered back in May. He had only just got back racing again.

However, Anders Rowe does return for the Witches after crashing at Lynn last month.

Anders Rowe, who with with his Witches team-mates lines up against Wolves on Monday.

Anders Rowe, back from injury. - Credit: Steve Waller-www.stephenwaller.c

HAWKINS SAYS

Witches team boss Ritchie Hawkins said ahead of tonight's clash.

“We can’t be losing at home again this season so in that respect we need a win regardless of the occasion.

"Obviously, it was a terrible result when they won at our place earlier on in the year and we need to put that right. It will be another tough meeting as they go well at our place and they are starting to move into a bit of form. We are going to have to perform well. 

"I’m really pleased to have Anders back; I think at the stage in his career that a few weeks off might not be a bad thing for him to refresh his batteries. He’s come through practice and practiced well so I’m delighted to have him back and he has been our highlight of the year so far."

Drew Kemp ahead of the meeting.

Drew Kemp, at No.6 for Ipswich tonight - Credit: Steve Waller -www.stephenwaller.com

TEAMS

IPSWICH: 1. Rory Schlein (g) 2. Anders Rowe 5.49 3. Danny King 6.93 © 4. Jake Allen 5.57 5. Craig Cook 7.60 6. Drew Kemp (RS) 7. Paul Starke 4.67. Team Manager: Ritchie Hawkins

KING’S LYNN: 1. Thomas Jorgensen 6.49 2. Cameron Heeps 5.91 3. Erik Riss 6.16 4. Lewis Kerr 5.81 © 5. Richard Lawson 6.11 6. Connor Mountain (RS) 7. Ricky Wells 4.00. Team Manager: Alex Brady.

PREMIERSHIP TABLE

Peterborough 10 26

Wolverhampton 9 24

Belle Vue 11 24

Ipswich 13 15

Sheffield 10 14

King's Lynn 9 7

TICKETS

Tickets are available to buy online (until 7pm on raceday) and on the gate and are priced at £19 for adults, £17 for concessions (65+), £5 for students (16-17). Children 15 and under go free. Official programmes are priced at £3 and are available at the stadium. Car parking is free for all supporters. Debit and credit card payments are accepted. Turnstiles open at 6.40pm.

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