SKIPPER Hans Andersen delivered a resounding war cry ahead of a crucial week in Pirates' SGB Premiership play-off charge, insisting: "We don't fear anyone."

Poole face Belle Vue (11am) and Rye House (7.30pm) today before taking on King's Lynn on Wednesday and Thursday and rounding off the regular season with a trip to Somerset on Friday.

As matters stand, fourth-place Pirates hold a four-point advantage over Rye House in fifth but the Rockets have a meeting in hand. Somerset are a further point back having completed two more meetings than the Dorset club.

Revving up his team-mates ahead of this morning's meeting at Wimborne Road, Andersen told the Daily Echo: "We're together as one team through thick and thin. If we click as a team, I definitely think we have a chance of winning the play-offs.

"We don't fear anyone. We have a team of young riders who are keen to do well and can do well.

"Brady (Kurtz) has a few meetings under his belt having returned from injury and we can beat anyone over two legs, we just need home track advantage.

"We have a pretty good away record this season, we have been solid and have probably been better away than at home.

"The Poole track plays its part. It's better for us that the track is rough, so even someone like Freddie (Lindgren) feels that riding the track is hard work.

"It's better for us having a track like that because before it was probably too easy as an away rider. They just turned up and smoked us.

"I haven't put too much effort into moaning about the track because it's the same for everyone but it shows if the track is rougher, we're better."

Meanwhile, Danish star Andersen has praised rookie reserve James Shanes for his improvement over the course of the campaign.

A popular figure among fans for his battling style and extravagant celebrations, Puddletown-based Shanes joined on a 2.00 average during the off-season and is on course to increase that by the end of the year.

Reflecting on the youngster's efforts, Andersen said: "James has improved a lot. The way he rode the bike against Wolverhampton recently was probably the best I've seen him ride.

"He is a grass tracker and a long tracker and those are different styles of riding. At some tracks this season, he's been more of a grass tracker than a speedway rider and has been locking up badly in the middle of corners.

"But his cornering is much better now and he's even overtaking on the outside.

"He seems to be enjoying himself and is coming out of his shell and that is nice to see."

Pirates: Hans Andersen, Jack Holder, Edward Kennett, Brady Kurtz, Paul Starke, Timo Lahti, James Shanes. Team manager: Neil Middleditch.

Belle Vue: Kenneth Bjerre, Craig Cook, Max Fricke r/r, Rohan Tungate, Steve Worrall, Dan Bewley, Jack Smith. Team manager: Mark Lemon.