NEIL Middleditch has revealed Pirates captain Josh Grajczonek “is as frustrated as everybody else” over his indifferent form in the skull and crossbones.

Grajczonek has managed just one double-figure haul in a competitive meeting this season and scored a modest six points in Wednesday’s Knockout Cup defeat to Somerset at Wimborne Road.

The Aussie totalled six paid eight at Belle Vue on Monday and his three-point effort at former club Somerset last week attracted criticism from fans.

When quizzed about Grajczonek’s form after the latest loss to the Rebels, team boss Middeditch told the Daily Echo: “He is going through a bad spell but tonight he showed some promise.

“It is difficult to win if you don’t make the starts. Josh’s equipment is first-class but he is just not making the starts at the moment. When he does that, he wins races.

“He is having trouble coming back from behind in some heats.

“Any sport is a mental sport and there is no point dwelling on it but that is easy to say. I’ve been there, done that and got the t-shirt.

“It’s not a good place to be. You try everything. It’s as frustrating for him as it is for everybody else.

“All I say is, get behind us. You are Pirates fans through and through and we appreciate all your support. Through thick and thin, support the boys.”

Pirates trailed 52-38 from the first leg at the Oaktree Arena and a 47-43 loss in the return clash saw them sunk with four heats in hand.

The margin of defeat had looked set to be heavier but Poole pulled back eight points in the final six races.

Middleditch said: “It was a mountain to climb, although it would have been nice to win the meeting.

“We came back at the end and made the score respectable. It can’t all be doom and gloom.

“We had a good start in heat one with a 5-1 but then we were playing catch-up and it is very hard to do that.

“We were a bit slow out of the gate. We were making the jumps but just weren’t getting to the first corner first and you can’t afford those mistakes.”

Poole star Linus Sundstrom fell to the deck in heat eight and heat 10. On the first occasion, the Swedish international was excluded but on the second he won the re-run in tandem with number one Brady Kurtz.

Asked how Sundstrom was feeling physically, Middleditch said: “He’s okay. I think his pride is hurt more than anything.

“They were a couple of unlucky falls. He rode well and bounced back.

“These speedway boys are made of tough stuff and don’t worry about a tap on the ankle.

“They career into the fence at 60mph, brush themselves off and get back on the bike.”

Pirates are next in action when Belle Vue make the trip to Dorset in the SGB Premiership on Wednesday.