NEIL Middleditch is upbeat on Darcy Ward’s chances of riding in his first 2014 Elite League meeting for Pirates on Wednesday.

Ward is yet to turn out for Poole this year due to rupturing his anterior cruciate ligament in the New Zealand Grand Prix on April 5.

The Aussie has featured in a handful of meetings on the continent since but did not ride for nearly a fortnight prior to yesterday’s Finnish Grand Prix in Tampere.

Missing out on the semi-finals with a haul of eight points, Ward nonetheless appeared to come through the experience without sustaining further damage.

And now Poole team manager Middleditch is hopeful that the 22-year-old will feature in Wednesday’s home clash with Coventry.

Middleditch told the Daily Echo: “Darcy said his knee held up pretty good, although it’s a bit sore.

“It all depends on what happens when he gets back this afternoon and settles down and sees how much pain he’s got.

“I’m not sure what his plans are at the moment because it’s all up in the air, but I’d like to think he will ride on Wednesday.

“I’d imagine if he was OK last night and is OK today then he will ride in Sweden on Tuesday and for us the following night.”

Following the departure of Chris Holder, Ward was redeclared in the Poole one-to-seven, which was effective from yesterday.

Meanwhile, Pirates star Shamek Pawlicki yesterday advanced through the Speedway European Championship second qualifying semi-final.

Pawlicki scored 13 points to finish second behind Maksim Bogdanovs in a meeting in Krsko, Slovenia.

The Pole will now race in the SEC Challenge in Debrecen, Hungary on June 8 in an effort to qualify for the European Championship proper.