NEXT ACTION: PIRATES LOOKING FOR GOOD START TO BANK HOLIDAY
It will be a vital Bank Holiday for the Volvo Cars Poole Pirates who are seeking to confirm their place in the end of season play-off stages for the 8th consecutive season.
The Pirates have an early start on Monday when they open their doors to Belle Vue, Manchester a club that have finished title runners-up for the past two seasons and have already affirmed their involvement in this season's Premiership play-offs, despite losing at home to basement side Leicester on Friday night.
Immediately after the Wimborne Road action, which gets underway at 11am, the Pirates will be heading off to Hertfordshire to confront Rye House who have their targets firmly set on the Pirates' present fourth place position and moved a point closer to the Pirates after gaining an away consolation at Somerset also on Friday.
With the Rockets holding a match in hand but trailing Poole by 4 points, it makes the second fixture of the Bank Holiday a pivotal moment in the league chase so Poole will be hoping to have stretched their advantage earlier in the day by gaining something from the Aces visit.
"We can't afford to slip up again if we are going to make the final four" admits Poole boss Matt Ford. "The goal is very much for us to do that. We are aiming to get into those play-offs because as we all know in speedway anything can happen. It is true to say that the three teams above us have been performing more consistent across the season than we have but whilst we have a chance we must continue to believe."
"It is a very important couple of meetings coming up on Monday and could define the last month or so of our calendar, although there is still a lot of racing to go. Our next two meetings are very tough. Belle Vue have been consistent all-season and Rye House have been putting together a decent run of results. Four points would help our cause a good deal."
Having been pace-setters for much of the season, Belle Vue have enjoyed a good deal of success on the road including a 47-43 triumph at Poole back in June. With the exception of rider replacement being deployed for the injured Max Fricke the Aces will be fielding the same side as on that occasion. Fricke, who scored 7 points that night will see his riders distributed amongst his team-mates with all bar Kenneth Bjerre available to team manager Mark Lemon.
The Pirates have a team structure change with Paul Starke moving into the main body of the team as Timo Lahti has acquired an official 2017 average which drops him to reserve. Lahti had his best performance in Poole colours last week when going through his programmed rides against Leicester unbeaten.
Monday's teams (from)
Poole - Hans Andersen (capt), Jack Holder, Edward Kennett, Brady Kurtz, Paul Starke, Timo Lahti, James Shanes - Team Manager Neil Middleditch
Belle Vue - Kenneth Bjerre, Craig Cook (capt), Rider Replacement for Max Fricke, Rohan Tungate, Steve Worrall, Dan Bewley, Jack Smith - Team Manager Mark Lemon
11/09 PIRATES 44 SWINDON 46
Final Standings (champions to be determined via play-offs)