POOLE boss Neil Middleditch has admitted it would be dangerous to write Swindon Robins off in the race for the play-offs.

The Robins sit seventh in the table, four places behind Poole, with around a third of the season to go.

Middleditch and his Pirates produced a Lazurus-like comeback to charge from the very foot of the Elite League table to make the play-offs last season, beating the Robins in the semis on their way to the title, and for that reason is refusing to right off Swindon at this stage.

“There’s still an awful long way to go and people found out about that last year with us because we were rock bottom and made the play-offs before winning it, which was a great achievement,” he said.

“I’m certainly not writing Swindon off yet, that would be silly, because they’re a really good team, especially around Blunsdon and can be really dangerous.

“They are hard to beat at home although they’ve had a few tough nights but they are a dangerous side who are still in the mix.”

A large crowd is expected at the Abbey Stadium this evening for a fixture Middleditch admits is one which still catches the eye following many years of rivalry between the two clubs.

“There’s so much history there, Swindon and Poole go back such a long way and are two of the oldest clubs in the country so there’s always been a good derby there,” he said.

“Exeter, Poole and Swindon always used to be the southern derbies and it’s always good, especially with Rosco and I being such close friends because we both are really keen to get one over each other.”

Poole have made another switch at reserve this week to bring in local youngster Brendan Johnson to replace Ben Hopwood, with Middleditch admitting he would like the Fast Track Draft scheme to be tweaked slightly.

“This fast track thing is a tough one because when you’re having a hard time you maybe want to strengthen up but you can’t quite do that now,” he said.

“Both us and Swindon, as well as a few other teams, have had reserve issues and it needs to be looked at but we have to make the best of it.”