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Poole Pirates: Top dogs need second leg support says Middlo
BOSS Neil Middleditch insists Pirates must provide support for their heavyweight top three if they are to stand a chance of beating the defending champions.
Poole are facing a major battle to overhaul Swindon in next Monday's play-off semi-final second leg after suffering a 52-42 defeat against the Robins at Blunsdon.
Leading men Darcy Ward (14+1), Maciej Janowski (9) and Greg Hancock (9) registered 32 of Pirates' 42 points as Poole's reserves and middle order failed to fire.
They paid the penalty against a solid Swindon outfit as Alun Rossiter's title holders scored consistently throughout their one-to-seven on home shale.
And Middleditch admits Pirates cannot afford to carry any passengers as they bid to overturn the 10-point deficit in the second leg at Wimborne Road.
Pirates' long-serving team manager told the Daily Echo: “We fell short on a couple of the boys. Swindon is a tough track to go to and you have got to have the set-ups there. Hopefully, we can change that at Poole.
“If we did it, it would be fantastic. I was chuffed to get into the play-offs but now we are there, we want more.”
Pirates trailed by 14 points after a nightmare opening 10 races before a late revival cut the deficit to eight.
But Hans Andersen and Troy Batchelor combined for a last-gasp 4-2 to put the Robins in a commanding position.
Looking ahead to the second leg, Middleditch added: “I said in many interviews before the meeting that 10 points would be a bit of a mountain to climb but we were 14 down at one stage and got back to eight, and it could have been six or four in the end.
“It is tough but it is attainable. It is going to be tough because Swindon are a good side and they are solid throughout.”
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