Don’t write us off says Hammers captain
PUBLISHED: 08:43 18 August 2011
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Richardson: D-Day for play-off bid
Captain Lee Richardson says injury-hit Lakeside Hammers are determined to hold on to an Elite League play-off place.
The Purfleet club lost the services of Polish rider Piotr Swiderski this week, after he suffered a broken leg riding for Wroclaw.
Swiderski joins Adam Shields and Stuart Robson on the sidelines, but Richardson says there is great team spirit in the camp ahead of a vital home meeting with play-off rivals Peterborough tomorrow night (Friday, 8pm).
He said: “This is D-Day for our Elite League aspirations. Nobody should write us off just yet.
“We have come a long way as a team over the last two months and our spirit is excellent.
“The fans have got behind us ever since Adam’s injury and although we’re depleted again on Friday I know we can get the result we need.”
Ty Proctor and Nicolai Klindt are set to guest for Hammers, with Peter Ljung racing in the Grand Prix Challenge final, while Kauko Nieminen returns from Premier League duty with Leicester.
Hammers will use rider replacement to cover for Swiderski and Richardson added: “Young Kim (Nilsson) and Robert (Mear) represent a glowing future for the club and their form at home has been tremendous.
“With decent guest plus Kauko back, we are going all out for the three vital league points up for grabs that we need to keep the league season alive going into next week’s home meeting against Birmingham.”
Speaking of Swiderksi’s injury, co-promoter Stuart Douglas said: “I’ve seen the crash online and it was really nasty.
“Our first thoughts go to Piotr, who has sustained some horrible injuries.
“We’ve now lost three riders to long-term injuries, none of which were sustained while riding for the Hammers.
“This is part of speedway, the riders know it and we know, but it is no more palatable for that fact.
“They feel like part of the family here and it’s a cruel blow for the club. It’s important they know how much they are appreciated by fans and club alike.
“We have two more home league fixtures to win in our push for the play-offs and also the KO Cup to look forward to.
“Jon Cook is in discussion with riders with a view to rebuilding immediately they become available and as soon as we have positive news we will share it.
“In the meantime, it’s time to show some good old-fashioned English spirit.”
A message on the club’s Twitter page, meanwhile, suggests impending team news. It said: “Hammers to return to full seven-man team for Cup Semi and, potentially, Play Offs. Details to be revealed direct to fans on Friday night.”
A series of four races, involving eight British under-16 riders in 125cc and 250cc classes, will start at 7pm before Hammers and Panthers take to the track.
Admission is £16 adults, £12 seniors, students and disabled, £10 unemployed and 17-18 year olds and £1 for children aged 6-16, with the under-6s allowed free entry if accompanied by a paying adult.
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