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Team boss Carl Johnson insists Panthers have put together the best possible line-up for their SGB Premiership clash at Ipswich tonight (August 22).
The city side are without three of their regular riders for the trip to Suffolk with captain Hans Andersen (wrist), British champion Charles Wright (shoulder) and Ty Proctor (back) all sidelined after sustaining or aggravating injuries in a Monday (August 19) drubbing at King’s Lynn.
Johnson’s options for guests are severely limited with six of the seven top-flight clubs in action and riders from the only team not racing – Wolverhampton – declaring themselves unavailable.
The Panthers chief has had to dip into the sport’s second tier – the SGB Championship – and both his stand-ins are former Peterborough racers.
Ulrich Ostergaard, who spent the previous five years with Panthers and also helped them win the Elite League title back in 2006, replaces Proctor while Ben Barker, who was actually dropped by the city side after starting the current season with them, steps up for Wright.
They will cover the absence of Andersen with the rider replacement facility so all members of the team are eligible to take an extra ride.
Johnson said: “It was clear that Hans wasn’t right on Monday at King’s Lynn which is why he withdrew from that meeting after a couple of rides.
“His wrist is causing him problems to the point where he is struggling to hold onto the bike and he obviously can’t ride in those circumstances.
“Ty aggravated a back problem at Lynn and has been signed off for a few days which should give him chance to rest and recover.
“Charles has been carrying a shoulder injury since he crashed in our home meeting against Belle Vue last month and hurt it again at Lynn.
“It’s a huge blow to go into a meeting with one rider missing, but to have three out injured is incredibly tough.
“The fact we have fixed race-nights in this league make it really difficult to bring in guests and the guys we approached at Wolverhampton weren’t available anyway.
“That was also the case with a couple of riders from the Championship and we’ve had to work very quickly to put a team together.
“We’re very grateful to Ulrich and Ben for agreeing to come in – and we can be assured that both of them will give their all.
“Ulrich was a big part of the club for a long time and everyone knows how much he enjoys riding for Peterborough.
“And it’s really good of Ben to help us out after we let him go earlier in the season. He could easily have ignored my call or turned me down flat, but he loves his racing and will no doubt have a point to prove to us.”
Panthers are 11 points adrift at the bottom of the SGB Premiership following a torrid run of eight consecutive defeats.
Ipswich, who also jumped into the top flight last winter along with the city side, are riding high in second spot and look well-placed to make the play-offs.
“I don’t think many people will give us a chance of getting a result,” added Johnson. “But we’ll go to Ipswich with the aim of producing the best performance we possibly can.”
IPSWICH: Chris Harris, Richard Lawson, Cameron Heeps, Jake Allen, Danny King, Krystian Pieszczek, Edward Kennett.
PANTHERS: Rohan Tungate, Ulrich Ostergaard (guest), Ben Barker (guest), Rider replacement for Hans Andersen, Scott Nicholls, Aaron Summers, Jason Garrity.