PIRATES team manager Neil Middleditch believes Shamek Pawlicki is finally ready to show his full capabilities on a speedway bike after leaving behind the majority of his injury problems.
The 22-year-old rode in five meetings for Poole last season after joining as emergency cover for Darcy Ward and clocked up double figures in three home fixtures.
This feat was all the more impressive given that the Pole was carrying a serious leg injury for most of his time at Wimborne Road, before subsequently undergoing surgery in October.
Although still recovering from a long-standing collarbone issue, Middleditch feels the talent of his heat leader will shine through in 2014, an opinion backed up by Pawlicki’s 12 points in the 48-42 challenge match victory over Lakeside recently.
Middleditch, whose side start their Elite League title defence at home to Eastbourne tomorrow (7.30pm), told the Daily Echo: “Last year Shamek didn’t want to let the team down so he kept riding, but it was just ridiculous. His bone was basically sticking out of his leg.
“He did the right thing by having surgery and now he has returned and bounced into some great form.
"It was a fantastic performance against Lakeside and Shamek was outstanding, so there is a lot more to come from him.
“He had a collarbone injury and I don’t think that’s 100 per cent yet but he is a young man and it will heal. He works hard at keeping fit and that’s a key ingredient.
“He’s got a bit of a break from action at the moment so it’s healing up, but it’s one of those old injuries that speedway riders are able to carry.”
Coventry asset Pawlicki was loaned to Pirates on a 7.15 average for the upcoming campaign and Middleditch has tipped the youngster to become at least an eight-point racer this term.
He added: “We’ve got riders in there with the potential to improve and I think that’s the key. You don’t want riders who are going to finish on the same average, you want riders who are going to up their average.
“On his early showing, Shamek is certainly capable of putting a point or more on his average.”
- Pirates are yet to hear whether their two Elite League meetings against Swindon on Friday, April 18 will also double as both legs of the Elite Shield, with the matter still in the hands of the British Speedway Promoters’ Association.
The first meeting of the day is at Wimborne Road at 11am with the second at the Abbey Stadium at 8pm.