Ipswich Witches team boss Ritchie Hawkins is in confident mood ahead of his side’s Premiership play-off semi-final clash with Belle Vue Aces.

The first leg at Foxhall tomorrow, 7.30pm start, will see the Witches want to build a good lead ahead of the second leg in Manchester on Monday night. The winners of this meeting will race Sheffield or Wolverhampton in the final.

“The season starts fresh in the play-offs, we know that and our home form has been inconsistent at best, and we need everyone to click now,” Hawkins said.

“Belle Vue have been in great form at home, so we are looking to win the meeting at home and build as big a lead as possible.

“Whatever happens, over two legs I think we can beat anyone in this league. We have been very good away from home, so it is not all on our performance on Thursday night, but we need to put in two great performances over two legs if we want to progress and we are more than capable of doing that.”

The Witches have beaten Belle Vue twice already at Foxhall, but lost twice in Manchester, the second a heavy 30-point defeat.

Sudbury Mercury: Ipswich Witches skipper Danny King. Big nights ahead for him and his Witches team-matesIpswich Witches skipper Danny King. Big nights ahead for him and his Witches team-mates (Image: Tim Abell)

But all that is behind both teams now with the Foxhall atmosphere set to play at big part in proceedings, according to Hawkins.

“We have had some great nights at Foxhall in recent years in the play-offs in front of big crowds,” Hawkins said.

“Having that atmosphere always gives the team a boost and I’m sure it will be the same on Thursday.”

The Witches will still be without Danyon Hume, with Anders Rowe riding at No.7, while Belle Vue will be missing No.1 Max Fricke, who suffered serious injury in a track crash in Poland at the weekend.

Craig Cook, who had a spell with the Witches last season and impressed in the recent British Final, guests in Fricke's place.

Ipswich Witches: 1. Jason Doyle 10.10 2. Aaron Summers 4.33 3. Danny King 6.54 4. Rohan Tungate 5.93 5. Troy Batchelor 5.82 6. Paul Starke 3.42 7. Anders Rowe.

Belle Vue Aces 1. Craig Cook 8.40 2. Tom Brennan 5.38 3. Matej Zagar 8.29 4. Charles Wright 6.43 5. Brady Kurtz 8.14 6. Jye Etheridge 4.94 7. Norick Blödorn 4.24. Team Manager: Mark Lemon