MATT Ford admitted a "momentous" 11th-hour deal with a new title sponsor would allow him to pursue his transfer targets and ensure Pirates "stay at the top of our game".

The Poole chief put the finishing touches to a one-year contract with Volvo Cars Poole just in time for the start of the season, with the logo set to be emblazoned on the riders' race suits at this afternoon's press and practice at Wimborne Road.

Until a matter of days ago, Pirates had been set to start the campaign without a title sponsor. But Ford believes the substantial five-figure sum received will enable the club – now known as the Volvo Cars Poole Pirates – to swoop for fresh talent.

He told the Daily Echo: "While I considered we may start the season without a title sponsor, being entirely honest, it isn't the way you would hope to run your business.

"We are now in much better position to look at the future in terms of assets and there are one or two riders who during this campaign I would like to bring into the fold.

"This deal is certainly a major coup and gives us the ammunition to enhance the club's asset base and make sure we stay at the top of our game.

"We can now ensure the future prosperity of the club."

Ford admitted talks had reached a swift conclusion with Volvo Cars Poole, located a stone's throw from Pirates headquarters.

He said: "It happened very much at the 11th hour. Me and David Kelly, who is managing director of the group, had a brief but very successful meeting on Friday and terms were struck immediately.

"I've known David for many years and we have mixed socially on several occasions. He has a great name in the town and beyond, and it's a privilege to be working alongside him.

"This is momentous occasion in the respect of bringing in possibly the most recognisable sponsor the club has ever had as a title sponsor. I'm truly excited to be working with such a brand leader.

"My hopes are that the club gains a tremendous amount of exposure during 2017 and that by August, we could, hopefully, look for an extension to the deal."

Volvo Cars Poole general manager James Litton said: 'It is a privilege to be Poole Pirates' title sponsor for 2017.

"We know Matt Ford will, as ever, go for gold and Volvo Cars Poole is delighted to support him and his team in what promises to be a blockbuster season."

Season ticket holders are entitled to early entry at press and practice, at which Pirates' one-to-seven will be formally unveiled.

Alongside sponsors and members of the media, season ticket holders can mix with Poole's riders from 1pm. All other fans will be allowed into the stadium from 3pm.

The new faces in the line-up are Krzysztof Kasprzak, Jack Holder, Nicolai Klindt and James Shanes, with the returning riders from 2016 being Hans Andersen, Brady Kurtz and Kyle Newman.