NEIL Middleditch urged Pirates not to become the Elite League’s forgotten men before challenging his charges to rediscover top form against Leicester tonight (7.30pm).

Poole are off the back of defeats to Coventry and King’s Lynn in their past two home meetings – the first time they had suffered two losses on the spin at Wimborne Road in nearly five years.

In the wake of those results, Pirates slipped to sixth in the standings and team manager Middleditch has warned that a reaction is imperative if his team are to defend the title they won in 2013.

He told the Daily Echo: “We need to stamp some authority on Wednesday’s meeting and let people know we’re still here.

“We certainly can’t afford to be dropping any more points at this stage of the game. There’s a long way to go but we’ve definitely got to bounce back.

“We’re coming off the back of a couple of home defeats, although they were narrow defeats so I’m not panicking.

"We’ve been beaten by two very good teams that were better than us. I’m not making any excuses about that at all.

“I certainly don’t think there’s any cause for alarm but maybe that was a bit of a wake-up call for us.”

Tonight will be Pirates’ first Elite League clash with the Lions, who have lost four of their last five completed meetings.

The basement battlers will track debutants Krzysztof Buczkowski and Nicolai Klindt in their septet, while Pirates will use Rye House number one Edward Kennett in place of facial injury victim Josh Grajczonek.

Middleditch added: “Leicester are having a bit of a tough time but I’m not taking things for granted. There are no slouches in their team and I will be telling the boys that we need to bounce back and that we need to do it convincingly.

“I certainly don’t want us to underestimate Leicester, who have made changes for the better and are a different side.”