Pirates have no room for passengers
POOLE boss Neil Middleditch has insisted his side can’t afford to carry any passengers if they are to ruin the Robins’ bid to retain the Elite League title.
The Pirates snuck into the play-offs at the expense of Lakeside at the end of a season dominated by injuries to initial top two Chris Holder and Darcy Ward, and while the latter was able to return the reigning world champion’s season was ended at Coventry in July and he was replaced by Greg Hancock.
If Ward, Hancock and former Robin Maciej Janowski all perform Middleditch believes small contributions from his remaining riders will do the job, but insisted none of them can afford to have a real off night.
“We are a danger team, that goes without saying, but whether or not we have the firepower to beat Swindon we will only find out on Monday night,” he told the Advertiser. “It’s definitely possible, but they didn’t have Peter Kildemand at our place earlier in the season and he is a huge asset because he loves the Poole track.
“We need everyone to perform and we can’t afford any passengers along the way and every rider needs to chip in, although four or fives from our second strings and reserves is enough as long as the big guns all fire.
“All I can hope is that the weather doesn’t ruin what is sure to be a special semi-final.”
Middleditch admitted everyone associated with Poole were simply pleased to make the play-offs at the end of a difficult year, but now they’re in they have their eyes fixed on the title.
“It’s been a tough old season with a catalogue of injuries but we never gave up even though we were rock bottom at one stage during the season,” he said. “We kept doing what we had to do and eventually brought Greg (Hancock) in which has been great for us, and we are buoyant about being in the play-offs although Swindon have to be favourites because they’ve been at the top all season.
“Us getting in there is a great achievement, although Matt and I always talked on the way back from meetings and said we would never give up trying to make it in, and we have been rewarded for that now.
“In the past we have been watching other people fighting to join us in the play-offs but this year we have scraped in by the skin of our teeth, and now we want to win it.”
- TAI Woffinden will have to wait a further fortnight to become Britain’s first world champion in 13 years after a traumatic GP in Stockholm on Saturday night.
The Wolverhampton star went into the meeting at the Friends Arena knowing if he could keep his 22 point championship lead intact he would claim the title, but was involved in a heat two crash with Tomasz Gollob which left Woffinden with a broken collarbone and Gollob with serious injuries to his back and neck.
The destiny of the world title will now go down to the final GP of the season in Torun, where Robins rider and series reserve Troy Batchelor is likely to make his Grand Prix debut as a replacement for Gollob.
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