FORMER skipper Davey Watt reckons the “daunting” form of Poole Pirates has seized the title initiative from King’s Lynn – but still backed current club Lakeside to trump his old team tonight (8pm).

Watt, a four-time Elite League winner at Wimborne Road, will lead the Purfleet outfit against a Pirates side buoyed by thrashings of Wolverhampton and Swindon in the past week.

The Hammers captain took in Poole’s 56-35 destruction of the Robins and admitted the Dorset outfit’s recent results had made their play-off rivals take notice, even if he does expect home advantage to count at the Arena-Essex Raceway.

Watt told the Daily Echo: “As a competitor, it’s always daunting to see a team so dominant on their home track and they proved themselves away at Wolverhampton as well. That shows the quality Poole possess and they will be a force to be reckoned with.

“I do think we’ll still have the beating of them at Lakeside but coming here next week will be tough and we will have to be at our very best to get a point.

“You can expect the home team to win when they are in form and we are capable of running away with a meeting at Lakeside but Poole can do the same here.

“Lakeside is a small, tight track and it’s quite slick while Poole’s is quite big with a fair bit of dirt on it. How individual riders cope with those differences away from home will be important.”

Asked whether Poole or King’s Lynn held the upper hand, Watt added: “Maybe right now, you might stretch to say Poole.

"The way they are riding is really impressive. They are both doing the job at the moment so it’s a tough call.”

Kings Lynn’s Rory Schlein stands in for Mikkel Bech Jensen while Poole name the same one-to-seven that trounced Swindon on Wednesday.

Lakeside: Watt, Lawson, Bridger, Nilsson, Schlein (guest), Morley, Ellis.

Pirates: Ward, Grajczonek, S Pawlicki, Milik, Janowski, Compton, Newman.