FORMER Robins skipper Hans Andersen is expecting a good reception from the Swindon faithful when he returns to the Abbey Stadium with Coventry tonight.
Andersen, who will also guest for Belle Vue against the Robins on Monday, spent two seasons in Wiltshire during which he lifted the Elite League title in 2012 and led his side to the play-off semi-finals last year where they lost to Poole.
The Dane joined Coventry in the winter after the Robins decided on a top two of Troy Batchelor and Peter Kildemand for 2014 and, although he was occasionally criticised by Swindon fans for speaking his mind, the former GP star is expecting a cheer when his name is read out during the pre-match presentation.
“I would expect a cheer because I’ve done my part for the Robins and we won the league when I was there in my first year,” he said.
“Then in the second year I upped my average and it wasn’t really my fault we didn’t win the league. I crashed the day before the semi-final second leg and I told Rosco I didn’t really want to come because I wouldn’t have been able to give my best. He told me the only guest he could get would have been Scott Nicholls and, no disrespect to Scotty, I wanted to be there after I heard that.
“I enjoyed my time at Swindon a lot but I’m a Coventry rider now and I will be going there to win.”
Andersen will come face to face with close friend and former travelling partner Kildemand in heat one tonight and the former skipper has backed the Robins new number one to take to his new role.
“Pete has shown already he is good enough, he’s scored points in all his meetings,” he said. “Maybe when it comes down to the pressure races we will see, but as long as he doesn’t crash he will be fine.”
Well documented issues surrounding the state of the Brandon track mean the Bees go into tonight’s meeting without any competitive meetings under their belt, but Andersen isn’t expecting their lack of action to cause too many issues.
“It seems strange not to have ridden a single league meeting until April because it’s normally early much, so it all feels very weird,” he said. The last time I rode a bike was at Joonas Kylmakorpi’s testimonial nearly two weeks ago.
“Everyone knows each other in the team so it should be okay, but we just really want to get going and take it from there.
“It’s hard to say who’s favourite but Swindon have a team who can be super strong at home. They have riders who can max out and others who can fall through. Taking Troy out the other four can score big points around the Abbey.
“It will be interesting to see what happens in the reserve races and with the new format because I think a lot of races will be won at six and seven. I think ours are some of the strongest on paper so hopefully it will be like that on the track.”
SWINDON: Peter Kildemand; Nicolai Klindt; Bjarne Pedersen (guest); Simon Gustafsson; Nick Morris; Darryl Ritchings; Steve Worrall.
COVENTRY: Hans Andersen; Ryan Fisher; Kenneth Hansen; Kyle Howarth; Cameron Woodward (guest); Jason Garrity; James Sarjeant.