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Pirates: Ford rues loss of injured Swedish star Andersson
The newly-crowned Swedish under-21 champion has been ruled out for the rest of the season after breaking his femur during a track spill in Poland on Sunday.
Andersson, who had been in scintillating form at Wimborne Road, was involved in a crash with GP reserve Martin Vaculik during a meeting between Wroclaw and Tarnow.
And with Poole Coastal Aluminium chasing silverware on two different fronts, his absence could seriously jeopardise their chances of retaining both the Elite League and Knockout Cup.
Andersson’s demise at such a critical stage of the season could leave Pirates exposed unless a suitable replacement can be found – something Ford admits could be a struggle.
He told the Daily Echo: “First and foremost, our thoughts are with Dennis and we all wish him a speedy recovery. To say his injury has left us up a creek without a paddle would be an understatement.
“I was contemplating a team change anyway but, unfortunately, the figures haven’t quite worked out in our favour with one or two riders’ averages dipping just below the four-point mark for September.
“With Dennis’s average increasing from August to September, it will give us a little more scope but, unfortunately, the one rider I would like to have brought in is not willing to come to this country at this moment in time.
“Although all is not lost, it is going to be a struggle. It could be that we have very little option but to go with either rider replacement for the remainder of the season or, potentially, we won’t be able to use up the points available to us that Dennis gives us.
“Dennis was a very important part of the team and, as one of our top four riders, had been crucial to this year’s campaign. While he had a poor meeting at Swindon last week, he was someone who could up his game when he needed to. He will be a huge loss and this is a devastating blow to our championship hopes.”
Ford said Pirates would utilise the rider-replacement facility for Andersson during this week’s Elite League double-header against Lakeside as the club continued to ponder its options.
“It may mean we have to wait for the September averages to come out to see exactly what we can do,” said Ford. “Suddenly, one or two fixtures I felt we may be able to pick up maximum points from are going to be a backs-to-the wall job because Dennis was such a powerhouse at home and rode well at Lakeside last time out.”