Scunthorpe Scorpions close in on replacement for Gary Irving who has quit speedway
SCUNTHORPE Scorpions could be on the verge of completing their new season line-up for a second time.
Having had a team in place since November, promoter Rob Godfrey was dealt a blow last week when reserve Gary Irving decided to quit.
Scunthorpe have a rider in mind to replace him and last night were in talks about a potential deal.
Godfrey, however, is planning for the future and has revealed he is looking for a long-term commitment from his target.
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If he doesn't get that, he is prepared to look elsewhere, insisting there is "no rush" to complete the Scorpions septet.
"It depends on the rider," Godfrey said. "It just depends if they want to come.
"We need something down in writing that will make him commit to us. If we get that then we will go with it.
"I need a commitment on this scale because he's a new kid and if I give him a chance and he does well, everyone will want him.
"I need something to safeguard our club.
"If it falls down we'll move on and talk to someone else."
Although just six weeks away from the start of the campaign, Godfrey says he has several options to take Irving's place.
"There's no rush," he explained.
"I've got riders ringing me left, right and centre.
"We want to do what's best for our club, not necessarily what's best for another rider. There might be a bit of a shock, you never know.
"There's still a good pool of riders who haven't got fixed up. There's still good riders out there.
"We're looking for a rider for the long term, not especially for the short term.
"We'll do what's best for our club."
Irving hinted at the end of last term he was considering retiring and finally decided to take the plunge and focus on life outside of speedway.
The 23-year-old endured a difficult 2012, being dropped by Workington before struggling with mechanical problems at Scunthorpe.
"I don't blame the lad but the timing was a bit wrong," said Godfrey.
"If he'd made the decision at the end of the season it would have been a lot easier to get our first choice.
"But it's happened, that's life and we will be okay.
"I'm sure whoever we bring in will do a good job."
Comfort comes from the other six riders Scunthorpe have at their disposal.
Big things are expected of newcomer Ryan Douglas, while skipper David Howe is keen to make up for lost time after his injury problems.
Josh Auty, Ashley Birks, Thomas Jorgensen and Michael Palm Toft all played their part in the Scorpions' Premier League title success last year and will be looking to maintain their progress.
"I believe the other six are very capable of upping their averages and helping us to a second league championship," Godfrey added.
"Whoever we get in, there will be no pressure on him.
"I'm not worried about it at all."