NEIL Middleditch will advise Darcy Ward to go under the knife as soon as possible but the Pirates team manager says the club will stand by whatever decision the Aussie star makes.

Ward sustained knee ligament damage in the New Zealand Grand Prix five weeks ago and has not ridden for Poole since, although he has raced on the continent.

The 22-year-old, who has been working with AFC Bournemouth physio Steve Hard, has admitted he needs an operation and his plans were initially to delay until the end of the season, but that date could be brought forward.

Middleditch is in favour of surgery at the earliest opportunity but admits that the final decision rests with Ward.

The team manager told the Daily Echo: “My personal opinion is that he should have the op but I’m not Darcy Ward.

"He’s a grown man and we’ll stand by his decision. You’ve got to look at it long-term. He has a lot of years ahead of him and an anterior cruciate ligament injury can be career-threatening.

“As a speedway rider you have to be tip-top fit. It’s his left leg which you don’t use greatly despite what people think – it’s more of a counterbalance – but you do need to put it down at some stage, on a smaller track particularly.

"If you catch it in a hole or on the inside kerb, it’s going to be back to square one again.”

For Middleditch, Ward’s next scheduled outing at the Finnish Grand Prix a week tomorrow will provide the former King’s Lynn man with all the information he needs to know.

He added: “Darcy will continue to have intensive physio right up until the Grand Prix and the proof of the pudding will be after that.”