BULLISH Darcy Ward has thrown his support behind Pirates' class of 2014 and insists youth will be no barrier to success.

Poole will launch their defence of the Elite League title on April 9 using a septet that has an average age of just 22.

While skipper Ward admits the Wimborne Road outfit have in recent campaigns benefited from possessing a rider seasoned on the world stage, he is confident that this year's incumbent can produce the goods.

Ward told the Daily Echo: “We've got a very good team again this year. I think we're missing maybe one veteran, as in one other good GP rider which in the past would have been Chris Holder or Greg Hancock.

“It's going to be our first season without someone like that so it will probably be a test, but I think we will be alright.

“The sport is young so it's good to have young riders. We're all pretty determined but we don't want to overdo it. We will just be cool and get settled.

“Przemek Pawlicki rides around the world and is very hard to beat and so does Maciej Janowski, so I feel, for this league, we have two big-hitters there.

“I've seen Vaclav Milik ride pretty well in Czecho and Josh Grajczonek had a good season last season and, at reserve, we are pretty strong for the format we have this year.”

Ward is relishing the chance to fulfil the role of captain at Coastal Aluminium Poole once more and has pledged that he will focus on making sure new boy Milik settles in as soon as possible.

“Besides him, I know the rest of the guys so if they ask me questions then I'll tell them the answers and I'm sure we'll bond with Milik and get him comfortable and sorted,” said Ward.

“It's not that hard a job being captain, it's just about being friendly when someone is having a rough night and I Iook forward to trying to take home another title as captain.

“Besides the middle of last year where we were bottom, we've always been there or thereabouts. That's always a good positive for the team and is why we have such a successful club.”

  • See today's Daily Echo for our 12-page Pirates' preview supplement, including team poster.