When news happens text pix and video to 80360. Start your message with BE then leave a space.
Pirates: Ford says rivals now have the edge in race for title
Ford believes that the Robins and Panthers are stronger than Poole following the leg break suffered by key middle order man Dennis Andersson.
Promoter Ford moved quickly to replace Andersson in the Pirates one-to-seven by signing teenage Polish prospect Piotr Pawlicki.
However, despite the defending champions’ early-season dominance and club-record unbeaten run, Ford says Pirates are no longer favourites to retain the silverware.
In-form Swindon were last night set to host Coventry, where a victory would have seen them leapfrog leaders Poole, who visit Lakeside Hammers tonight (8pm).
Speaking ahead of those meetings, Ford told the Daily Echo: “In all honesty, while we are sat at the top of the table at this moment in time, I genuinely believe that Swindon and Peterborough are stronger than us.
“That is unusual for a promoter to say but if you look at Swindon and Peterborough from one to seven, you have to say that, overall, they have slightly got the edge on us.
“We are very strong top end but the lads have had to carry the bottom end of the team.”
Ford has called on the club’s less celebrated riders – such as Ricky Kling, Sam Masters and Linus Eklof – to back up big guns Chris Holder, Darcy Ward and Krzysztof Kasprzak during the run-in.
And they all answered the rallying cry by registering solid returns in the comfortable home victory over Lakeside on Wednesday night.
Ford said: “I was delighted to see Linus and Ricky pick up some good points against Lakeside.
“They both needed that for their confidence and I am hoping that it gives them the springboard for a run of consistent scores between now and the end of the season. They proved against Lakeside that they can do it.”
Pirates will operate rider replacement for Andersson in Essex this evening, with Pawlicki not due to make his debut until next week. Ludvig Lindgren replaces Sam Masters at reserve.
Lakeside: Davey Watt, Kauko Nieminen, Kim Nilsson, Peter Karlsson, Rider Replacement for Jonas Davidsson, Justin Sedgman, Robert Mear.
Poole: Chris Holder , Ricky Kling, Darcy Ward, Rider Replacement for Dennis Andersson, Krzysztof Kasprzak, Ludvig Lindgren, Linus Eklof.