Speedway: Monarchs need to overcome travel sickness in derby ties

GLASGOW TIGERS are already out of the Premier Trophy competition, while Edinburgh Scotwaste Monarchs are hanging on by their fingertips.

Monarchs entertain Glasgow at Armadale tonight and must collect all three points.

And three points will also be required from Sunday's return tie at Ashfield to keep Monarchs in the qualification frame.

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Anything less would turn Monarchs' final fixture at Newcastle Diamonds into a redundant chore.

But, in what has been an undistinguished campaign so far compared to last year, Monarchs have done little to suggest that they are capable of winning on the road.

And this has led some to conclude that the dynamics of this season's squad are somewhat askew. Monarchs had an opportunity to pull off their first away triumph at Workington Comets last Saturday but didn't get to grips with the slick Derwent Park surface and the Comets avenged their defeat at Armadale 24 hours earlier.

Critically, skipper Matthew Wethers could only muster three points and the Australian has been unable to stabilise his fluctuating form so far this season.

And today he admitted to being mystified by his Workington failure. He said: "I wish I knew what went wrong. I used the same set-up I had on my last visit there.

"But I just couldn't get off the starts. Workington is such a difficult track to pass on and my performance was disappointing.

"The track was really slick and, when you went into the corners and threw the bike into a slide, it just wanted to turn round on you, and that's what my problem was."

To illustrate his topsy-turvy scoring, Wethers notched a paid maximum in Monarchs' home win over the Comets, yet he claims he didn't ride that well either.

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"I was happy to score a maximum but didn't feel I rode that well. In my first three rides, I made a start and was able to hold on for the win but I didn't think I rode well until the last two heats of the match."

Monarchs witll be without Max Dilger for both matches against the Tigers after he dislocated his shoulder at Workington. He will be replaced by Cal McDade tonight.

Pride will be Glasgow's prime motive after they suffered a double blow by losing at Berwick and astonishingly folding at home to Workington.

The Tigers will be without Robert Ksiezak for a month after he was involved in a horror crash during the Berwick encounter.

The former Monarch clipped the back wheel of Berwick captain Paul Clews and cleared the safety fence. Tigers team manager Stewart Dickson said: "We wish Robert a speedy recovery but we had hoped to have taken something from the Berwick match.

"But we didn't ride well enough, far too many riders didn't reach the levels they had achieved at other times and therefore I had no complaints about the result."

However, Dickson was more scathing over their home loss to Workington, who hadn't won a single match in the northern section until last weekend.

"It was a meeting we should have won but we contrived to lose it, we did not have the necessary scoring power from the bottom end of the team.

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"And, while we won a few heats, we couldn't get the heat advantages we required. It really was frustrating and we certainly missed Robert as the rider replacement facility only netted us three points."

Tigers' Josh Grajczonek, who top scored with 11 and 12 points at Berwick and at home against the Comets respectively, says the Tigers must improve.

"I still can't believe we lost to Workington, we ran too many last places and it's something we need to sort out."

Glasgow will be looking to James Grieves to begin flying again. The Paisley ace hasn't been pulling up too many trees of late, although he did pile up 17 points on Tigers' Spring Trophy visit to Armadale last month.

Ryan Fisher and Andrew Tully were also unbeaten by Workington last Friday and Wethers added: "It was good that three of us all scored maximums. Hopefully there is a lot more to come because we need to pick up points this weekend."

Monarchs are still awaiting a re-staging date for their Newcastle trip, which was rained off on Sunday.