SWINDON Robins have asked for permission to speak to Dane Kenneth Bjerre as they look to secure a number one for their Elite League title defence.

The club’s first choice to lead the side remains last season’s skipper Hans Andersen, but the Blunsdon side saw a bid to sign the former Grand Prix rider rejected by parent club Peterborough over the weekend, with co-owner Julie Mahoney saying the offer needed to be significantly increaded.

A second bid has since been lodged for Andersen, who was also offered terms by the Panthers earlier in the winter, which he rejected, and turned down the chance to talk to Coventry regarding a full transfer.

Both Andersen and Bjerre have identical 8.18 averages, but with Bjerre returning from a broken leg which ended his season in August, the Panthers have always insisted they had not ruled out using Andersen themselves and have kept their options open.

With the start of the new season now only three months away, both Robins co-owner Gary Patchett and the riders themselves are keen to get their futures sorted as soon as possible.

“Our first offer for Hans was rejected, and I have since re-bid for him,” Patchett said.

“We have now also asked Peterborough if we can speak to Kenneth Bjerre as well as Hans, and they can only use one of the two.

“Kenneth is a very good rider, and we have asked permission to speak to him.”

As well as telling the Robins to up their bid for Andersen, the Panthers management have also insisted they would not loan Troy Batchelor back to Blunsdon for a second season, and are now only seeking a full transfer.

The 25-year-old put his transfer troubles behind him on Saturday morning as he stormed to success in the opening round of the Australian Championship, beating his former Swindon teammate Jason Doyle into second place.

Doyle came out on top at the end of the 20 qualifying heats at Gillman, but after both riders made it into the final it was Batchelor who stormed to victory with Rohan Tungate finishing behind the pair for third.

Batchelor leads the championship on 20 points with Doyle on 18, making them the men to beat going into the final two rounds at Undera on Wednesday and Kurri Kurri on Saturday.