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Poole Pirates chief Matt Ford: Team changes have been justified
MATT Ford believes Pirates’ Elite League revival has vindicated his decision to make expensive team changes.
The Poole promoter’s comments come ahead of tomorrow night's crucial round of fixtures – dubbed ‘Monumental Monday’ – which are expected to decide Pirates’ 2013 play-off fate.
A Pirates win at Belle Vue would rule out Peterborough and King’s Lynn in the battle for a top-four place, leaving Poole to sweat on Lakeside’s result at Swindon.
For long stages of the season, Pirates’ chances of extending their campaign looked highly unlikely due to a combination of poor form and injuries.
But after Ford opted to wield the axe and invest heavily in a number of team re-declarations, Poole have forced their way back into the shake-up.
With only Maciej Janowski and Rohan Tungate featuring all year, the likes of Kyle Howarth, Dawid Stachyra and Robert Miskowiak have all fallen by the wayside in 2013.
But Ford, who boosted Pirates’ hopes by opening the chequebook to draft in Greg Hancock, Tomas H Jonasson and temporary replacement Przemyslaw Pawlicki, told the Daily Echo: “I think due to the fact we have got a chance, it is justified. I will only invest money the club has.
“I stand and fall by the decisions I make. Bringing in those guys was the right thing for the club at the time and the right thing for the sport because I don’t believe in constantly tracking guests unless you have to.
“It would be a huge achievement for us to get to the semi-finals now. Anything past that would truly be a bonus, but let’s just try to do what we can and see if we can pinch that spot.”
While Swindon host Lakeside and Pirates visit Belle Vue, outsiders Peterborough host high-flying Wolverhampton on a big night for British speedway.
Belle Vue: (from) L Bjerre (guest), R/R for Cook, Dryml, Ostergaard, Wolbert, Zagar, Zetterstrom.
Pirates: (from) Dyer, Grajczonek, Hancock, Janowski, Jonasson, Tungate, Ward.
- Pirates star Darcy Ward was left 11 points adrift of automatic qualification for the 2014 series after the Slovenian Grand Prix.
Together with Poole colleague Greg Hancock, Ward was eliminated after the first semi-final before Jaroslaw Hampel went on to win in Krsko.
Ward’s 10 points left him trailing last night's bronze medallist Tomasz Gollob in the battle for a top-eight place with two rounds remaining.
However, the Australian ace would be the hot favourite for a wild card should he miss out on an automatic berth.
Tai Woffinden, runner-up in Slovenia, took a step closer to the title by extending to 20 points his lead over injured rival Emil Sayfutdinov.
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