Wolverhampton will be desperate for race winners in their two-legged Knockout Cup tie with Ipswich this week.

The Monmore men take a break from Elite League action at something of an inopportune time as the early-season table shows them in bottom spot without a point, largely due to last Monday's home defeat by Belle Vue.

They have already been beaten twice on the road, narrowly at Swindon last Thursday and also at Belle Vue, but the most worrying statistic is that Wolves riders have won just 12 of the 45 heats raced in total across those meetings - and that is a figure which simply has to improve.

Ipswich's start to the season is difficult to quantify as tonight's first leg clash at Monmore Green will be the first away match of the campaign for the Witches, who have so far collected three home wins out of three at Foxhall in the League after slipping to an opening-night defeat against their nearest local rivals, Peterborough.

Wolves will surely be looking for a lead that stretches into double-figures to take with them into Thursday's return at Ipswich.

That will require a majority of heat winners against a Witches team who include three Poles - two of them youngsters who may take a little time to adjust to the small track. Mikael Max, in particular, will be keen to bounce back from last week's meeting where, most unusually, he failed to win a race on his home circuit.

The Elite League table shows Coventry just one place above Wolves in ninth position, although the Bees did have a major boost last Friday when their first win of the season came against reigning champions Poole.

With their much-heralded line-up losing in front of their home supporters twice already in all competitions, joint-boss Peter Oakes said it was vital that the sequence was not extended, and the riders in the closing part of the meeting dug deep after they trailed by two points with two heats to go.

Oakes said: "It was a tremendous victory against the hardest team to beat in the League. We richly deserved it and everyone contributed at one stage or another, which is what you want to see in every meeting.

"We had a get-together before the meeting and also at the interval, and you hope it worked. Everyone worked for each other and you could see from the delight at the end of the meeting what it meant.

"We hope it's a turning point, and if it isn't then you wonder what is, but it's no use us getting totally carried away by it because there are hard meetings to come.

"But it's got that stigma of not having a win off our backs, because that does wear you down and the longer it goes on the worse it gets. We now have to remind the riders that we've beaten the champions and beaten them on merit."

The Bees have been given a bye to the second round of the Knockout Cup but face important Elite League fixtures this week at Swindon on Thursday and at home to Belle Vue on Friday.