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Speedway: Middleditch looking to upset Aussie rule
PATRIOTIC Neil Middleditch is vowing to forget his Pirates loyalties when Britain bid to cause a World Cup shock against Poole-inspired Australia.
Manager Middleditch will be aiming to guide Team Great Britain into Saturday’s final by winning Event Two at King’s Lynn tonight.
Australia, with a big Pirates influence, start as favourites to claim the automatic qualification berth against the hosts, Germany and Czech Republic.
Pirates and Britain team boss Middleditch will be up against familiar faces in the shape of Wimborne Road stars Chris Holder and Darcy Ward, subject to fitness, and Poole assets Jason Crump and Davey Watt.
But Middleditch insists that will be put firmly to one side when the nations lock horns.
He told the Daily Echo: “From Saturday onwards, when the World Cup started, I have fully had my Team Great Britain cap on.
“I am the manager of Team Great Britain and all other loyalties go to one side. It is purely about Team GB.
“We are all there to do a job. There is no animosity but I will be with Team GB and they will be in the Aussie camp. We know it is going to be tough. If we get straight through to the final, that would be a real bonus.”
Underdogs and 50-1 outsiders for the title, Britain will be represented by Chris Harris, Scott Nicholls, Tai Woffinden and Danny King.
The top-placed team at Norfolk Arena progress straight to the final, while the sides finishing in second and third will meet Poland and Denmark in Thursday’s race-off, with just one spot up for grabs to join Event One victors Russia, hosts Sweden and the winners of Event Two in the last four.
Middleditch said: “Our main target is to get straight to the final because the race-off is extra tough this year, with only one team going through.
“It is going to be tough. The Aussies are waiting on Darcy’s fitness but even without Darcy, they have got riders who can take his place and do a great job. We know we are going to be up against it.”
Injured Pirates star Ward, meanwhile, has admitted that his chances of featuring are “50-50”.
The 20-year-old has been receiving intensive treatment in Poland after breaking his hand while representing Torun last month.
Ward, who believes Troy Batchelor is on standby to take his place, told speedwaygp.com: “I might try to practice before the meeting and see how it is. It is good but it is not ready.
“I only want to come back if I’m ready. I’ll just have to wait and see – you just don’t know until you actually get on a bike. I’m not going to push myself into it but if I feel I’m ready, I’ll have a go.”