Sunday August 26, 2018
SWINDON are in last-chance saloon for the Premiership play-offs as they go into their Bank Holiday Monday showdown with Poole at the Abbey (7.30pm).

A run of four defeats in five this month has left the CFS Filtration Robins outside the top four with only two matches remaining, and they are now reliant on results elsewhere going in their favour.

First and foremost, Alun Rossiter’s side need to win their last two home fixtures, against the Pirates and then Belle Vue next Thursday (September 6) and complete their league campaign on 38 points.

Their most realistic chance of edging into the top four would then come if Belle Vue lose at home to Somerset on September 10, and they also need the Aces and Wolverhampton to share the wins from their Bank Holiday double.

But Rossiter has stressed that despite calls for changes from certain quarters after disappointing results on the road, options to guarantee improvement were virtually non-existent.

He said: “It’s out of our own hands now which is disappointing of course, and all we can do is look to win the last two home matches and see where that leaves us.

“The riders still have a lot of pride to race for, and any meeting at home to Poole is always going to be a big one so we’re looking forward to Monday.

“But it’s been frustrating because I still believe this team, especially with the top five we have and the points Zach (Wajtknecht) has added at reserve, was good enough to make the play-offs.

“I know people have asked why we didn’t make changes, and the simple answer is that I couldn’t see anything we could do which would definitely improve what we had.

“Certainly we would have had to make more than one change, which often doesn’t work out anyway – just look at Leicester, have their results improved since they made four changes?

“I’m always prepared to do it if the circumstances are right, like when we signed Darcy Ward in 2015 and I had to take Kyle Howarth out even though he’d improved his average. I could see it was going to improve the team overall.

“But nine times out of ten, you take one rider out to try and improve something and you end up weaker somewhere else.

“We weren’t going to rip up the team with three or four changes because if we’d had the consistency in the top five, they were good enough anyway and we weren’t going to make changes for the sake of it.

“Last year it was clear we were one rider short and the opportunity was there to solve it by bringing in Tobiasz (Musielak), but this year that sort of option hasn’t been there with the averages.”

Musielak and Adam Ellis are both expected to ride on Monday after their heavy crash in the recent defeat at Poole, which caused Ellis to miss a guest booking for Ipswich with a swollen ankle. He has since returned to action for Lakeside.

Poole may well be top of the table by the time they arrive at the Abbey, as they face a weakened Somerset side in a lunchtime clash at Wimborne Road.

The Pirates were beaten 50-39 on their previous visit to Blunsdon in early May but track a vastly different side on this occasion, including mid-season signings Chris Harris and former Robins rider Nicolai Klindt.

SWINDON: Troy Batchelor, David Bellego, Adam Ellis, Tobiasz Musielak, Nick Morris, Zach Wajtknecht, Jack Smith.
POOLE: Brady Kurtz, Josh Grajczonek, Richie Worrall, Nicolai Klindt, Chris Harris, Kacper Woryna, Frederik Jakobsen.

*GATES will open on Monday at 6pm and the riders will be present outside the Club office for an autograph session until 6.30pm. Each rider will have a stack of photos to sign for supporters.

‘Tapes up Ted’ will also be available for the kids. The club are also running a promotion for special signed ‘Tapes up Ted’ which can be obtained by the highest bidder in a secret auction. All proceeds will go to the BEN Fund. Entry forms will be available on the night.

The riders will also be going into the crowd during the interval for the annual BEN Fund collection.

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