NEIL Middleditch believes comparisons between Brady Kurtz and Darcy Ward are misplaced – and insists the latter was a one-off.

Widely regarded as one of speedway's greatest natural talents, former Pirates star Ward's career was cruelly cut short by a racing crash in Poland.

Comparisons have regularly been made between the ex-Poole skipper and Kurtz, who blasted into the number-one position at Wimborne Road last season.

But Pirates team boss Middleditch feels Kurtz should focus on making gradual progress rather than emulating his compatriot.

Middleditch told the Daily Echo: "Everyone harks back to Darcy, who was such a fantastic talent at such a young age, but nobody rides a bike quite like Darcy did.

"People always compare Brady to Darcy but there isn't going to be another Darcy, I'm afraid.

"Brady is a very capable rider, his equipment is good, he's got a good team behind him and he will get better.

"As long as he is making progress each season, that's all he needs to do."

Pirates boss Matt Ford has opened talks over a new deal for Kurtz, who shone during his first reserve ride at last month's Australian Grand Prix.

The 21-year-old beat Maciej Janowski, Chris Holder and Antonio Lindback at Etihad Stadium in Melbourne.