Poole Pirates boss Matt Ford: We won't win the Elite League unless our reserves shine

CHIEF: Matt Ford

CHIEF: Matt Ford

First published in Sport by

MATT Ford believes in-form Poole Pirates boast the best one-to-five in the Elite League – but insists that will count for nothing without more support from his reserve riders.

The Wimborne Road outfit hit back from their miserable end to May with 12 points from five top-flight meetings to move within a point of second-placed Lakeside with two meetings in hand.

Wednesday’s 49-41 success over Wolverhampton marked their third consecutive maximum haul on home shale as second string heroes Josh Grajczonek and Vaclav Milik carried the fight with double-figure totals.

Milik has made a mockery of his assessed four-point average by racking up 6.34 since the start of his debut season in the UK, while Grajczonek has boosted his rating by more than a point despite an injury-blighted campaign.

But Ford argued that the impact of those impressive statistics had been diluted by the new fast track scheme and said that reserves Kyle Newman and Ben Hopwood would have to produce more consistent performances if Pirates were to keep hold of British speedway’s top prize.

Ford told the Daily Echo: “We certainly had a few challenges to deal with in May but we came through it and the overall form of the team has been phenomenal at times.

“Much of that comes down to Vaclav Milik and Josh Grajczonek improving dramatically this year alongside three established international riders. They have moved forward tremendously and in a manner most of us could not have possibly imagined.

“Our consistency levels are getting better by the week and now we just need to get the right support from our reserves because we’ll win nothing without them, that’s for sure.

“Usually when you have a four-pointer who comes in and gets himself up to six-and-a-half, you should be a title-winning team but unless your fast track riders are hitting the heights you end up losing much of what you gain with the system as it is.

“It is vitally important we don’t waste how well our top five are doing because they are outperforming the rest of the league. Their averages remain better than Kings Lynn’s but it is them who are top of the league by a country mile.”

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