LEE Smart feels as if he was “near enough born” at the Abbey Stadium and the Poole rider admitted it seems natural for him to make his competitive Pirates debut at his old stomping ground.

The 25-year-old Broad Town resident was selected by the Wimborne Road side in the first National League riders draft before Christmas and, having spent his career to date in and around the bottom tier, will now share a pit with superstar Darcy Ward in 2014.

Smart spent many evenings as a child watching the Robins and made his speedway debut for the old Swindon Sprockets in 2003, and is now eagerly awaiting the chance to make the step up in class in front of a hoard of friends and family as he faces his hometown club in tonight’s Elite Shield fixture.

Blunsdon is where I first started riding speedway and my first ever meeting was there with Swindon Sprockets in 2003, I think Pete Toogood (current Robins promoter) was involved,” he said.

“I used to go as a kid too but that seems like forever ago, it seems like I was near enough born up there.

“It seems right that I am making my debut at Swindon and it’s really fun and I’m looking forward to it.

“It means my family can all come and watch which is good although they will have to support Poole now instead of Swindon.

“Normally I’m travelling and riding all over the place so my family don’t get to see me ride much but it will be nice to have a local one for once.”

While many argue tonight’s meeting is just a glorified challenge fixture, Smart is taking tonight’s Elite Shield clash very seriously as he bids to make himself at home with Poole.

“It’s going good and I’m just excited to get started now,” he said.

“All the boys are really professional which is great for me and it’s a really young team, although I’m actually one of the oldest in the team.

“This meeting is an important one for us and hopefully we can start off the way we mean to go on.”