PIRATES boss Neil Middleditch insists it would be a mistake to read too much into tonight’s season-opening clash with Lakeside.

Coastal Aluminium Poole entertain the Hammers in a challenge match with the full one-to-seven in action for the first time.

With the campaign very much in its infancy, Middleditch believes that no trends for the forthcoming year will be set just yet.

He told the Daily Echo: “I think it’s too early to say that this meeting is going to set a benchmark, but it will be nice to see the boys race as a team for the first time this season.

“It’s very early days. The speedway season is a marathon not a sprint, so it’s just a case of getting their racing heads back on and seeing how things go.

“Lakeside have Peter Karlsson as well as Davey Watt, who knows his way round Poole, and with Lewis Bridger and Mikkel Bech Jensen on board they are a strong team now.

“It’s going to be a good test for us, that’s for sure.”

Meanwhile, Pirates asset Chris Holder will ride in the Elite Shield first leg at Swindon tomorrow in place of fellow Aussie Darcy Ward.

Number one Ward is expected to return for the Elite League opener against Eastbourne on Wednesday, April 9.

Promoter Matt Ford said: “Chris feels he needs the track time to be ready for the New Zealand Grand Prix, so as it’s early in the season we can get him on the track without it causing a problem.”

Poole Pirates: Ward, Grajczonek, Pawlicki, Milik, Janowski, Newman, Smart.

Lakeside Hammers: Karlsson, Lawson, Bridger, Jensen, Watt, Ellis, Morley.