WOLVERHAMPTON v ROBINS, PREVIEW

Sunday October 06, 2019
SWINDON head to Wolverhampton on Monday in the latest attempt to get their Premiership play-off semi-final underway.

Both planned stagings last week, at Monmore Green and then at the Abbey, were frustrated by the weather, meaning the schedule is completely re-set to the original plan, with Wolves hosting the first leg and the CFS Filtration Robins the decider on Thursday.

And with the forecast for the coming week looking more favourable, a battle royal is expected between the two sides as they fight for the right to face Ipswich in the Grand Final – with the Witches patiently waiting for their opponents after toppling Poole last weekend.

Robins go into the semi-final in good heart, and with the majority of their riders having been kept busy despite the lack of team action since the Premiership Supporters’ Cup victory over Belle Vue last month.

Amongst them, skipper Jason Doyle has booked his place in the 2020 Grand Prix series after a semi-final appearance in Saturday’s final round of the season in Torun.

Meanwhile, Danish duo Rasmus Jensen and Claus Vissing are both into the Championship Grand Final with Glasgow, whilst Ellis Perks is involved in play-offs at two levels with Leicester and could yet complete a unique hat-trick of league titles.

Robins’ record at Wolverhampton this season offers cause for encouragement that they can at the very least return to the Abbey later this week with the tie in a winnable position.

They have taken league points on both of their previous visits, having gone down to narrow 46-44 and 48-42 defeats – but they must also be aware that Wolves have gained in strength over the season.

The hosts’ scores at Monmore since late-July have consistently been well into the 50s, and former Swindon man Nick Morris has gradually got back towards his best form to give them a solid-scoring line-up overall, with Ryan Douglas and Luke Becker a potent force at reserve.

Balancing that somewhat is the fact that they have not raced on their home circuit since way back on September 2.

Swindon boss Alun Rossiter said: “Going to Wolverhampton holds no fears for us. It will be tough, of course it will, but that’s what you expect in the play-offs and it would be tough against any of the other teams.

“We have the belief, and everyone has seen that with the run we went on. We probably should have finished top of the table, but we’ve already seen that can count for nothing with Poole going out.

“We’ve had a short break, which I don’t think is a bad thing, and we’ve just got to go up there and believe in what we do.

“Without setting targets, I do feel we can beat anyone over two legs, but obviously we respect Wolves and we know they’ve been in good form.”

WOLVERHAMPTON: Sam Masters, Kyle Howarth, Rory Schlein, Nick Morris, Jacob Thorssell, Ryan Douglas, Luke Becker.
SWINDON: Jason Doyle, Adam Ellis, Tobiasz Musielak, Rasmus Jensen, Troy Batchelor, Ellis Perks, Claus Vissing.

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