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Josh Pickering is back home in Australia. Picture Jack Cupido

Edinburgh Monarchs travel to Peterborough Panthers for their final SGB Championship on Friday (7.30pm) minus a key rider.

Aussie-born Josh Pickering has returned home for a funeral and Monarchs will use rider replacement.

Mike Hunter, one of Monarchs’ directors, said the loss of Pickering definitely weakens the team.

Monarchs have 71 points from 35 matches while Peterborough are sixth with 57 points from the same number of fixtures.

Hunter added: “We need a point to ensure third place in the championship and we’re going for it.”

The match comes on the eve of Panthers biggest challenge of the season when they entertain Glasgow Tigers in the first-leg of the SGB Championship KO Cup semi-final on Sunday at the East of England Arena (5pm).