Bowden banks on home form for Devils' lift-off
PLYMOUTH Devils boss Mike Bowden admits his side faces a battle to get off the bottom of the Premier League.
Devils have three home games left to help them avoid winning the wooden spoon.
They are currently three points adrift at the foot of the Premier after defeats at Somerset and Scunthorpe over the weekend.
The city side have now completed five away matches and won none of them, which has plunged them into possibly deeper trouble than last season.
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Although Devils won't get relegated if they finish last, they were hoping to do better than last season, when they finished second bottom in their debut Premier year.
However, it is still possible for Devils to finish comfortably mid-table if they win their remaining home meetings and belatedly start to pick up points away from home.
Bowden is awaiting news as to whether a kind of plate competition for the league's bottom seven teams will be run post regular season.
That would give Plymouth some post-season action even though they have not been consistent enough to challenge for the play-offs, which involves the top six teams.
Bowden admitted he was perplexed as to why his team had not pushed on from last season.
He said: "When you look at the riders we've got, we should be doing better.
"All we can do now is try and win our three remaining home meetings and trying maybe to get something away from home."
Bowden added: "I believe that we've got two of the best riders in the country in Ben Barker and Ryan Fisher.
"But even they can't win a meeting on their own.
"The most they're going to get between them is 30 points – and you need 46 to win a speedway meeting."
Bowden, the Devils' chairman and promoter, said he believed his side could overtake second-bottom Redcar, who have had one more match than Plymouth.
The Plymouth boss was also philosophical about his team's away performances – they haven't won a single meeting away from St Boniface in any competition this season.
He said: "I think we've got a stronger side than Redcar, so we can finish higher than them.
"To be honest, teams should win their home matches because they know their own track – very few win away from home."
The Devils chairman said a muddle over whether they could use one of their riders, Ben Reade, for the rest of the season, had been solved.
Reade appeared to have fallen foul of regulations which limited the use of guest riders.
The 21-year-old, who is registered for Plymouth, has been recalled to the St Boniface Arena to replace Nicki Glanz, who is in a contractual dispute with Devils.
The red tape could have prevented Reade from riding at Scunthorpe on Sunday.
But Bowden said: "Ben did ride on Sunday and he will be riding for us for the rest of the season.
"We've been told we are allowed to use him."