STRUGGLING Swindon Robins reserve James Shanes has been released by team manager Alun Rossiter, with promising British youngster Ellis Perks taking his place.

Shanes, 22, registered four points in the Robins’ three opening Premiership meetings – finishing third on four occasions and last seven times with one retirement.

The Dorset-based rider has found life tough in British speedway’s top tier, and Rossiter has consequently moved to draft Perks in ahead of Bank Holiday Monday’s double-header against Poole Pirates.

The Robins chief insists the time is right to shuffle his pack before making a mid-season move results in the loss of additional riders.

He said: “It’s quite evident that James (Shanes) is struggling, and that is not through the want of trying.

“Things just aren’t happening for him. He’s struggling out of the gate and you can’t afford to give away a few yards at the start.

“James has been a good lad to work with, but I won’t make a change for the sake of it.

“Last year, I got criticised for keeping Jack Smith. But if you went through the list, all riders were the same.

“We would’ve been no different if we swapped Jack, but would have lost money through race suits and clothing.

“I only make a change if I feel like I have to.”

Perks’ form in the Championship with Leicester this season has seen him register an average of 6.34 to date – compared to Shanes’ 6.18.

An eye-catching 12-point return against Newcastle and a 9+2 haul when going wheel-to-wheel with Eastbourne earlier this month has placed Perks in high confidence for his debut in a Robins race suit.

And Rossiter has called on the 22-year-old to chip in with four or five points in each meeting to keep the Robins’ cogs turning.

He added: “Ellis is going quite well at the moment. He scored a maximum in the main body of the Leicester team in the Championship quite recently.

“Whoever goes into our number seven role will struggle. But we’re hoping he can pop out and win the odd heat two with Zach (Wajtknecht).

“Four or five points is what we’re looking for per meeting – especially with the way our team is setup.

“Hopefully Ellis can do the job, and I do wish James all the best – it’s never nice letting someone go.

“Poole will be a tough meeting for him, they have strong reserves.

“But that’s the Premiership.”