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Middleditch urges Pirates to keep it tight
BOSS Neil Middleditch insisted it would take a huge team effort for Pirates to stay in contention ahead of tonight's crunch semi-final showdown at Swindon (7.30pm).
Poole make the tricky trip to Blunsdon for the first leg of their Elite League play-off on the back of two away defeats to the Robins this season.
Middleditch's men were eased aside 55-37 in the Elite League Shield at the start of the season before losing a closer contest 50-43 during their play-off chase at the end of August.
But after two successes against Alun Rossiter's men on home shale, the Pirates team manager believes his side could upset the apple cart if their imperious hosts can be contained.
Asked whether he had set any targets for the first meeting, Middleditch told the Daily Echo: “Realistically, we always knew Swindon were going to be a tough nut to crack at Blunsdon.
“We lost by seven points there earlier in the season and if we could repeat that result I would be relatively happy because they have been up there all season and we go into this one as underdogs.
“If we were to lose by 10 or more then I think we would have a mountain to climb so we have to make sure we're on top form from one to seven to push them as close as possible.
“We can't carry any passengers, we need everyone to be on top of their game and to do their jobs. It will be difficult but if everyone performs to the capabilities then we have every chance.”
Darcy Ward and Greg Hancock, fresh from strong showings in the Scandanavian Grand Prix on Saturday, will complement a full strength Pirates line-up while Swindon make one change to their side.
Robins rider Ashley Birks, who sustained a back injury in a crash on Friday night, is replaced by Lewis Kerr, who finished runner-up in the weekend's National League Riders' Championship.
Swindon: (from) Hans Andersen, Troy Batchelor, Kyle Howarth, Edward Kennett, Lewis Kerr, Peter Kildemand, Nick Morris. Team manager: Alun Rossiter.
Poole: (from) Micky Dyer, Josh Grajczonek, Greg Hancock, Maciej Janowski, Tomas H Jonasson, Rohan Tungate, Darcy Ward. Team manager: Neil Middleditch.
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