SWINDON Robins boss Alun Rossiter wants his side to strike a psychological blow against rivals Poole Pirates when the two teams go into battle at Wimborne Road this evening.

The Elite League’s leading lights have been talked about as potential finalists for much of the season, and both teams are set to finish in the top two going into the play-offs regardless of tonight’s score.

But Rossiter is desperate for his side to overhaul the Pirates and finish top of the pile and ensure they have first choice of opponent in the semi-finals, and wants his riders to earn a mental advantage over Poole tonight.

“It is obviously not the big one in terms of a title decider, but it is very important because if we win it it will help us finish top of the league,” he said.

“We know how important it is and we know what we have to do, it is as simple as that.

“Finishing top will give the team a huge boost going into the rest of the season and the play-offs, and will give everyone a lift because it is all psychological in this game, as 90 per cent of speedway is.

“It is the same with losing, if you lose you can take a psychological blow.

“We want to finish top, and we have always wanted to finish top, because going into the play-offs as the top side in the league is a huge advantage to have over our opponents.”

Rossiter was pleased with the way his side focused themselves for the clash with bottom of the table Belle Vue on Thursday, and is expecting his riders to crank it up a level for this evening’s meeting with the leaders.

“We went in to the Belle Vue meeting with the same attitude we do for every meeting, because if we didn’t it would have come back to bite us,” he said.

“The boys know when it is a big match and you can see that from the look on their faces, and their whole body language was totally different when we rode Poole before because they knew they had to raise their game.

“They certainly did that in the match at the Abbey because we hit them from the off and didn’t give them a chance to get on top of us.”

A broken leg for Dennis Andersson has allowed the Pirates to bring in rising star Piotr Pawlicki for the business end of the season, and Rossiter believes the change has made them stronger.

“They are definitely stronger now he is there and he proved it last week by scoring 10 points, and Dennis wasn’t doing that well,” he said.

“But we can only ride the team that is in front of us, and my riders are more than capable of beating him.”