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5th May 2018

AFTER four successive league and cup defeats, ‘Volvo Cars’ Poole Pirates travel to Swindon on Bank Holiday Monday looking to turn their fortunes around.

But it doesn’t getting more tricky than facing the reigning Premiership champions on their own track.

Pirates boss Matt Ford is aware his pre-season betting title favourites side have not started the season the way he would have liked.

He said: “Things are just not happening for us at the moment. We are simply not competitive enough.

“We need to turn it around, but Swindon is a far from easy task.

“They were champions last year and have retained the majority of their side, so that gives us an idea of what we are up against.”

Ford has reacted to the Pirates slow start to the campaign with a change at reserve, local boy James Shanes making way for two-time British U19 champion Stefan Nielsen, who was born in Esbjerg, Denmark. The 23 year old currently rides for Scunthorpe in the SGB Championship but has gained top flight experience with both Belle  Vue and Swindon. Nielsen marked his appointment as a Pirate by registering his second paid maximum of the season for his Championship club.

The Robins have already  inflicted a heavy 14-point home defeat on the Pirates this term, when the two sides met at Wimborne Road last month.

The Dorset side suffered a similar score in their KO Cup trip to Somerset on Wednesday.

Monday's Bank Holiday meeting will be the Pirates' third away league match this season with a 43-47 defeat at Belle Vue and 36-54 beating by Wolverhampton behind them. 

Led by Nick Morris, the Robins have only completed two home matches this term, a 52-38 Charity Shield win over the Aces and a 48-42 victory against King's Lynn in the league. 

But the Wiltshire side suffered a heavy reverse at King's Lynn on Wednesday night.

Joining Morris in the Swindon side will be fellow Australian Troy Batchelor, who has been a regular at Wimborne Road this season having guested against Poole for Belle Vue, ridden in the Pirates' 70th Birthday Bash meeting and masterminded that Robins' win with an 11-point return.

The new Pirates septet come together for the first time with their short trip to Blunsdon - which means former Robins asset and track specialist Peter Kildemand will be a pivotal rider for the Dorset side. 

Poole’s next team action following Monday will be another away trip seven days later when they travel to Rye House. 

Next Wednesday (9th). Wimborne Road hosts the Premiership Riders Championship which features the top two riders from each club captain Josh Grajczonek and number one Brady Kurtz representing the Pirates.

Teams from

Swindon:- Troy Batchelor, David Bellego, Adam Ellis, Nick Morris (capt), Tobias Musielak, Mitchell Davey, Zach Wajtknecht - Team manager Alun Rossiter

Poole: Josh Grajczonek (capt), Peter Kildemand, Brady Kurtz, Linus Sundstrom, Kacper Woryna, Stefan Nielsen, Mateusz Szczepaniak - Team manager Neil Middleditch

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