SWINDON chief Alun Rossiter has warned his title-chasing team that the Elite League is far from won – despite Darcy Ward’s absence.
Pirates star Ward will miss tonight’s grand final second leg after being hospitalised following an incident outside a Dorset pub over the weekend.
Together with Chris Holder, Ward has been Poole’s leading performer this term and a vital part of the club’s defence of the crown they won in 2012.
Pirates have booked Grand Prix qualifier Niels-Kristian Iversen as a guest for the Australian as they bid to overcome a seven-point first leg deficit.
And Rossiter has urged his riders to avoid complacency ahead of the Wimborne Road showdown (7.30pm).
Pirates legend Rossiter, a multiple title-winning captain with Poole, told the Swindon Advertiser: “If anyone thinks it makes things easier then you have to think again because Niels-Kristian Iversen is a superb rider and he has had the season of his life.
“Now he has the opportunity to come in and take part in the final, so none of my riders or the fans can think that it is ours.
“Niels-Kristian is a class act and he has proved it this year, but we can’t take our fingers off the pulse because that would probably be the biggest mistake we could ever make.
“It could actually encourage them even more to try to do it for Darcy, so we need to be wary of that.
“Sometimes, things like this have a bit of reverse psychology so it will still be just as tough as when Darcy was there, and that is the attitude we will have.”
Pirates chiefs confirmed Ward had a brain scan in hospital and was due to be discharged this morning.
Rossiter added: “As much as I want to win the title, it is so sad the poor kid has ended up in hospital because that is not right at all.
“It is not for me to give out information about what has gone on, but I just hope he gets well soon because he is such a massive talent and a nice lad.
“Someone’s health is more important than speedway but we have all come this far and, as horrible as it may sound, the show must go on.”
- Don’t miss tomorrow’s Echo for full coverage and pictures from tonight’s Elite League Grand Final... weather permitting of course!