PIRATES chief Matt Ford revealed Nicolai Klindt would remain in his thoughts after the Danish racer missed out on an immediate return to Wimborne Road.

Klindt failed to secure a team place at Poole despite a promising campaign last time out, a serious knee injury sustained in Latvia in June wrecking his season.

The 29-year-old, who has an SGB Premiership average of 5.78, will this year race in the Championship for Workington.

But Ford said the former Wolverhampton charger would be an option should a replacement be required during the campaign.

He told the Daily Echo: "Nic was so unlucky to miss out. He did nothing wrong. He rode very well for us and I would definitely want to work with him again.

"In Kacper Woryna and Mat Szczepaniak, we gain in excess of a point with both of them on Nic's average. And with Nic coming back from injury, I felt it was a bit of a chance.

"But should anything go wrong and sadly things sometimes do in this sport, Nic would be one of the first people I would turn to."

Ford completed his team by bringing in Swedish international Linus Sundstrom and fans' favourite James Shanes.

Both signings had – directly and indirectly – been dependent on the lifting of the Ekstraliga's controversial three-league rule.

And Ford revealed some of the riders he would have considered with the 10.73 points he would have had left, had the rule not been relaxed.

He said: "Kacper Gomolski came into my thoughts, as did Nic, Peter Ljung, Paul Starke, Richie Worrall and one or two others.

"Those were the ones which were in my mind to pick two of, although Richie's average would have meant I would have had to sign him alongside a different rider."

Meanwhile, Poole's 70th anniversary gala dinner – due to take place at Cherries' Vitality Stadium headquarters on Saturday, March 24 – is sold out.

A galaxy of Pirates stars past and present will turn out for the evening, which will be held the night after the season-opening meeting at Wimborne Road.

Among those due to attend are the likes of Tony Rickardsson, Mark Loram, Alun Rossiter, Lars Gunnestad, Brian Crutcher, Chris Holder and Neil Middleditch.

Ford told the club website: "I am overwhelmed the tickets have sold so quickly. It is a great response from the fans and it promises to be a good night.

"I can't thank the fans enough. I had to go back to our hosts on two occasions to ask for an increase in capacity as the demand for tickets kept flooding in."

A string of top names will battle it out for individual supremacy in Poole's season-opening meeting.

Eight names have been confirmed to date including Danish quartet Niels-Kristian Iversen, Hans Andersen, Bjarne Pedersen and Frederik Jakobsen.

Brady Kurtz, Josh Grajczonek, Linus Sundstrom and Kacper Woryna – all members of Pirates' 2018 side – are also set to feature.