COVENTRY Storm return to action this Friday when they host Birmingham in the National League and boss Laurence Rodgers is confident they can pick up a first win in 2016.
The Storm opened their campaign with a 41-49 defeat at Eastbourne last month and after over two weeks since their last meeting, Rodgers is looking forward to seeing his team back in action.
He told the Observer: “We are really looking forward to getting back on the track, it is just a pity the lads have not had much time on the bike because of the weather.
“It is great to have them back as a team because the season has just started and we have probably had the hardest start with meeting’s against Eastbourne and Birmingham.”
“My worry is that we could be a little rusty on Friday because Birmingham have had more meeting’s than us. Some of their team also ride in the Premier League including Zach Wajtknecht – who will be missing the meeting because he is riding for Somerset. That does not mean we will not be tested though because they have booked Matt Williamson in as a guest who has experience at this level.”
Rodgers singled out Martin Knuckey and Liam Carr as riders who can help the Storm pick up their first points of the season.
“Martin has had a terrible time lately with the incident with Ellis Perks against Eastbourne resulting in a bent bike and smashed helmet and injuries to his face and nose.
“Then when he returned from injury this time riding for the Bees’ he crashed again which wrecked another bike so it has been an expensive time for our skipper but he is a tough old character and I am sure he will bounce back well aiming to get some points against the Brummies.”
“Apart from Martin the only member of the team getting rides at the moment is Liam Carr – who is riding very well for Berwick which is great to see him getting confidence from riding in a higher league.”
“It is a shame Liam did not progress in the British Under 21’s but he had lots of problems during the meeting with a couple engine failures and a fall.”
The aim for the Storm is to do as well as they can in the league but Rodgers was quick to point out that there are more pressing aims this season.
He added: “We want to have some success as does anyone but our main aim is to bring riders on and that has always been our aim from day one with the Storm if you look with what we have produced.
“You have to look at the long-term future of the team because yes the short-term gain is great with some silverware in the cupboard but in the long-term bringing a rider on into the Bees’ team like James Sarjeant is now, is the real goal.
“The league is not progressing having high average riders filling positions with all respect those clubs and riders, we have a very young team and one that is full of potential.”