Speedway: Monarchs skip still to be decided

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EDINBURGH MONARCHS chief Alex Harkess today hit back at rumours claiming Derek Sneddon will be appointed team captain for this season ahead of current skipper Matthew Wethers.

Sneddon has returned to the Capital speedway outfit after spending the last three years with Newcastle Diamonds and led Monarchs to their second Premier League crown in 2008.

Aussie ace Wethers, who celebrates ten years with Monarchs with a testimonial meeting in August, also led the side to championship glory in 2010.

But Harkess has insisted the captaincy of the squad has not even been discussed yet, stating: “It has not even been talked about and any rumours surrounding the issue are that.

“I have spoken to Matthew quite a lot recently but it’s been about his testimonial and various things for his bike, there has been no talk about the actual team. And I haven’t spoken to Derek since December.

“Who skippers the team will be decided before our press and practice day next month and will be debated among the whole team.”

Meanwhile, Harkess revealed the club are in talks with two possible interested parties with a view to taking over the Scottish Open Championship sponsorship following the withdrawal of long time backers Keyline (Broxburn)

Harkess said: “We have offered the Scottish Open to two possible backers but it’s nothing more than that at the moment. We are awaiting their response and I’d probably get the shock of my life if both said yes.

“We have a number of people who sponsor each heat every week but they are speedway die-hards and often their contribution isn’t always in cash but in can be equipment and other things like that.

“But hopefully we will find someone to take over the Scottish Open before it is staged on March 23.”

Monarchs team manager Alan Bridgett has also responded to some unhappiness among supporters that this year’s side doesn’t include any member with an average of over eight.

Bridgett, a former rider, has been associated with Monarchs for over thirty years, and said: “I think our team will be okay but a lot depends on luck and steering clear of injuries, plus everybody riding to their expectations, or at least to their potential.”

The Monarchs kick off the new season with a League Cup tie at Redcar Bears on March 22.