LOCAL lad Brendan Johnson has been brought into the Pirates line-up at the expense of Ben Hopwood.

Poole resident Johnson, 22, will make his debut in Wednesday’s Elite League home meeting against Belle Vue.

Hopwood was stood down after a 54-day stint at Wimborne Road which started out as an initial one-month contract.

He struggled for form throughout his spell on the south coast, scoring just 15 points in 10 meetings, excluding bonus points.

Johnson, who five years ago was left in a coma following a horror crash, will link up with good friend Kyle Newman in the bottom two.

Currently riding in the National League for Mildenhall, Johnson practised at Pirates’ circuit following last Wednesday’s 49-41 home win over Wolverhampton.

In an article published in the Daily Echo on Friday, Johnson said: “It has always been my dream to ride for Poole”.

And the reigning top-flight champions have given him that chance as they look to give themselves the best possible chance of retaining their crown.

Johnson told the Pirates website: “Right now, life doesn't get much better than this.

"I'd like to thank Matt (Ford, promoter) for giving me the chance and I'm determined to make the most of it.

“I'm under no illusions. It is going to be very tough, but I'm going to give it my absolute best shot. If I can go out there and score three points a meeting I'll consider it a job done.

“The opportunity to work with the likes of Darcy, Magic, Shamek and Middlo is an awesome prospect in itself.

“This is just too good a chance to miss."