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COOK GETS IPSWICH CALL

Ipswich boss Chris Louis is backing Great Britain star Craig Cook to bounce back from his shock King’s Lynn exit as he joins the Witches.

09 / 06 / 2021, 12:21

Ipswich boss Chris Louis is backing Great Britain star Craig Cook to bounce back from his shock King’s Lynn exit as he returns to the SGB Premiership with the Witches.

Cook joins Paul Starke in stepping into the Foxhall club’s team, with the pair replacing injured stars Cameron Heeps and Jordan Stewart.

With the Aussies set for at least three and six weeks on the sidelines respectively, Louis was keen to avoid relying on guest riders to cover for them – especially with his No.1 Jason Crump also out of action while he recovers from eight broken ribs.

We can see his results at Glasgow. They have been impeccable, and he convinced me that he is ready to go and perform at every level. I didn’t waste a second in getting the move done.

Chris Louis

Cook was bizarrely shown the door by King’s Lynn after just two matches following their 58-32 loss at home to Wolverhampton on May 27.

But after watching the Cumbrian pile up the points for Glasgow in the SGB Championship, Louis is confident Cook can star for the Witches.

He said: “I spoke at length to Craig about what happened at King’s Lynn and he absolutely convinced me that he just had a bad couple of meetings. Like a lot of riders, he had an enforced long break and he has to get his head around that.

“He didn’t settle down immediately but since we have been talking to him, we can see his results at Glasgow. They have been impeccable, and he convinced me that he is ready to go and perform at every level. I didn’t waste a second in getting the move done.”

Louis is also backing Starke to settle quickly. He added: “Although he is not that old, he has a lot of experience. He’s a settled lad and he’s a guy that everyone gets on with. I know he will settle straight into the team.”

Heeps suffered a shoulder separation at Ipswich last Thursday, while Stewart sustained a broken collarbone, dislocated shoulder and broken ribs in a crash at Birmingham last Wednesday and underwent successful surgery.

While Louis took no pleasure from releasing Heeps and Stewart, he admits finding guest stars to cover for three riders during the current UK rider shortage would have been an incredibly tough task over a period of weeks.

He said: “To lose both Jordan and Cam is extremely tough but we couldn’t wait to see how long these injuries will take because they are a little bit unknown. Jordan’s in particular looks like it will be the longest; it was a dislocation that was out for two days prior to the operation. I know from vast experience of my own injuries and watching other people recover from dislocated shoulders, it will be a long haul.”

He added: “I could never have anticipated losing three riders in a week and it has forced our hand.

“This season is condensed, it is coming thick and fast and it is always going to be difficult getting suitable guests.

“When you are three riders down, your hand is forced, you have to make changes and you have to act fast. The changes that we’ve made are without doubt the best thing we could do, and we have to regroup.”

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