SWINDON boss Alun Rossiter insists that tonight’s Knockout Cup clash with Peterborough will not ‘distract’ his side ahead of next week’s Elite League grand final.

The Robins travel to the East of England Showground to race in the first leg of a quarter-final that was originally scheduled for the beginning of May.

The meeting might come just days before both legs of the grand final against Poole on Monday and Wednesday, but Rossiter is comfortable with the situation.

“I’m not concerned that it’s a distraction, it keeps the riders’ minds occupied, keeps them focused and gives them more track time,” he said.

“You could look at the negatives and say it’s a risk because someone could get injured, but that’s the way it is.

“It would have been nice to get it out the way earlier in the season because time-wise it is getting a bit tight now.

“The winner of the meetings gets Poole over two legs and then there’s a final after that to be finished by the cut-off date on October 31.

“It might literally come down to the toss of a coin, but we’ll have to see.”

Rossiter sees the proximity of tonight’s cup clash to the grand final as a positive, given that three years ago in his first stint in charge, Swindon underperformed at Wolverhampton in the first leg of the grand final having previously had a break from action.

“When we went to Wolverhampton three years ago, I think we had a two-week gap before that and it didn’t help us,” said Rossiter.

“It’s slightly different for these boys because the likes of Hans (Andersen) and Doyley (Jason Doyle) are still riding elsewhere.”

Tonight’s meeting will be Swindon’s first experience of the rejigged gate rules and man-on-man tactical rides that have been used in the Knockout Cup this season.

And with two trophies very much on for the Robins, co-owner Gary Patchett says the riders are determined to make it a double celebration in Wiltshire.

“We would love to win the cup and the fact that we are in with a chance of the double is a credit to the team,” said Patchett.

“Hopefully we can keep the scores close and bring them back here next Thursday and finish the job.”

  • SWINDON Supporters’ Club will run coaches to the second leg of Elite League grand final at Poole on Wednesday, October 17.

The coaches will leave at 3pm from the Abbey Stadium and all seats are £12.

Bookings will be taken from inside the bookies’ bar until tapes-up and again after the first leg on Monday.

Alternatively, contact Darcia on 07846 757000 or via pitcrew@swindonrobins.co.

A seat on the coach does not guarantee entrance to the meeting.