TEAM boss Neil Middleditch admits some tinkering may be required for Poole Pirates to compete with record-breaking King’s Lynn at the Elite League summit.
A run of 13 consecutive successes has seen the pacesetting Stars achieve the best start to a top-flight campaign since the play-offs were introduced in 2002 – a record previously held by Poole’s class of 2012.
Fourth-placed Pirates have lost their past three league meetings – including a double-header against their Norfolk rivals – but remain in the thick of the early play-off action having opened their championship defence with seven wins from nine.
That strong start has been achieved in the face of mounting injury problems as skipper Darcy Ward, popular reserve Kyle Newman and more recently emerging talent Josh Grajczonek have endured spells on the sidelines.
Promoter Matt Ford recently dubbed King’s Lynn “the best team in the league this season”, a sentiment Middleditch found difficult to dispute.
However, Poole’s main man in the pits argued his side were still best placed to challenge their authority and hinted that subtle changes – enforced or otherwise – could aid their cause over the coming weeks.
Middleditch told the Daily Echo: “I wouldn’t go so far as to say that King’s Lynn are head and shoulders above everybody but their away record is superb.
"We have enjoyed some good results other than a couple of blips, which were not ideal but we still have a very long way to go.
“We do have weaknesses which occasionally come to the fore but our wins earlier in the season were convincing.
“I think we’re at the head of the pack behind the Stars at this point.
“Lakeside have a strong home advantage and tend to do very well round their own track, while Coventry have hit some form. They are consistent throughout the team and that is the key factor.
“This season more than ever, everybody has to contribute and it may be that we need to tweak one or two things.
“Hopefully, that isn’t the case because I am quite happy with the team and we are still in there fighting but we have to keep our options open. Our main aim is to get in the play-offs and we will do whatever is necessary.
“I’m not manning the lifeboats just yet. If you look at where we were this time last year, who thought we would have made the play-offs? We were languishing at the bottom of the league and looked like we were going nowhere.”