FRUSTRATED Matt Ford has apologised to Poole Pirates supporters having been forced to declare a much-changed team for tomorrow’s trip to play-off rivals Coventry.

In-form pair Shamek Pawlicki and Maciej Janowski miss out due to Polish federation restrictions ahead their respective Speedway Grand Prix qualifying race-offs in Czestochowa, Poland and Gorican, Croatia on Saturday.

Ford hopes injury victim Josh Grajczonek will recover sufficiently to take part with the Aussie – out for the past three weeks since crashing at Coventry in a guest appearance for Birmingham – assessing his fitness with a practice session at Workington Comets today.

Pirates have drafted in Birmingham veteran Daniel Nermark, who bagged a 15-point maximum for the Brummies at Coventry on the night Grajczonek got injured, for Janwoski.

Swindon’s Simon Gustafsson is set to take Pawlicki’s place with the Swede reverting to number four should Grajczonek miss out. Poole would then utilise rider replacement for Pawlicki.

Ford admitted the team changes were “not ideal” but said that circumstances had forced his hand.

He told the Daily Echo: “I must apologise to our supporters because we have been unable to go to Coventry with the strongest possible team.

“The Polish federation know Maciej and Shamek are very capable of qualifying and asked that they take a 24-hour break to give them the best possible chance, which is frustrating for us with both in very good form.

“We did ask whether it would have been better to postpone the meeting but Coventry have had their scheduling problems and had managed to get Hans Andersen and Chris Harris available so it was not possible.

“It’s never nice to lose two of your top three but I’m pleased with the lads who are stepping in. Daniel has already shown his capabilities round Coventry this season and Simon has been in excellent form.”

Meanwhile, Ford confirmed reserve Ben Hopwood would retain his place until at least the end of the month.

Following the Stoke rider’s 3+1 against Leicester last night, Ford said: “Ben rode very well, chipped in with some points and did himself no harm at all.

“We have no changes planned at this point and he keeps his place on merit.”

Coventry make three changes to their team with the injured Kyle Howarth replaced by Aaron Summers, while Bees asset Joe Jacobs joins Simon Lambert at reserve for Jason Garrity (unavailable) and James Sarjeant (injured).

Pirates: 1 Darcy Ward, 2 Vaclav Milik, 3 Simon Gustafsson (guest), 4 Josh Grajczonek (subject to fitness test), 5 Daniel Nermark (guest), 6 Kyle Newman, 7 Ben Hopwood.

Coventry: 1 Hans Andersen, 2 Aaron Summers (guest), 3 Michael Jepsen Jensen, 4 Kenneth Hansen, 5 Chris Harris, 6 Joe Jacobs (guest), 7 Simon Lambert (guest).