SHEFFIELD owner Neil Machin is hoping a lull in fixtures will give the riders time to recharge their batteries for one final Premier League championship charge.
After tonight’s visit to Ipswich, the Owlerton side have only one more league date in August. That will be against Plymouth on August 25 before a fixture frenzy in the penultimate month of the campaign and Machin believes his side needs some breathing space.
He said: “We have the lighter load of official fixtures and that couldn’t have come at a better time. The riders have shown signs of being tired and having tired equipment recently. That was evident at the Fours at Leicester on Sunday when we certainly didn’t look like one of the top teams in the league and it was certainly the case when we went out of the KO Cup against Workington. That was one we should have won comfortably but we threw away points. At present I don’t think we have the energy to take us through to the end of the season and keep hold of that top spot.
“We’re still there but only just. We have to maximise every point possible if we are to be crowned champions, starting at Ipswich. We went there earlier this year and put in a disappointing performance. We lost by 15 points and didn’t look like we could go on to challenge for top spot but now we know we have to bring something home this time around. It will be a good test of our capabilities. We need to recreate the form we showed when we won at Somerset a couple of months ago.”
n IPSWICH: Doolan, Poole R/R, Tresarrieu, Risager, Bjerre, Hart, Mills.
n TIGERS: Auty, Skidmore, Ashworth, Sanchez, Parker, Lambert, Birks.