PROMOTER Matt Ford hailed the mental steel of Josh Grajczonek after the Pirates skipper had come off the ropes to show his true colours.

Grajczonek has struggled for form this season but appeared much more on the pace in securing eight paid nine in a second-string role during Wednesday's 54-35 win over Belle Vue.

The Australian, who has come in for his fair share of stick from Poole supporters, is due to lead Pirates when they visit Leicester tomorrow (7.30pm).

Ford said: “Josh’s form has been disappointing, of course, but what I like about him is his resilience.

“He doesn’t moan or take too much notice of social media, he just gets on with his job and has worked really hard behind the scenes to improve.

“Against Belle Vue, we saw glimpses of what he is capable of.

“He set his stall out early in heat one when he saw off Craig Cook and played a key supporting role to the rest of the boys, Brady Kurtz in particular, for the rest of the night.”

Grajczonek is in his second spell at Wimborne Road having helped Pirates win the Elite League title in 2013 and 2014.

Asked about his exploits against Belle Vue, the 28-year-old Queenslander said: “I have struggled here most weeks in my first race. I have always been on the back foot so to start with a win was pretty good.

“I haven’t been riding a lot. We have nothing going on in Poland at the moment as we don’t have a home track.

“We’ve had a break for about two months. Last week, I had a week off whereas all the other boys were riding two, three or four times a week. I’m doing one a week.

“It’s not really helping the confidence but, hopefully, this is a step forward.

“Thanks to Matt and everyone for sticking by me. I know I have been copping a bit of stick on the Internet. Say what you want.

“I was a heat leader (at Somerset) last year so my plan is to get the confidence back up and go from there.

“I’ve been struggling of late but, hopefully, this is a step in the right direction and I can keep building from there.

“We can’t say we still have time. We need to make it happen now and push for the play-offs.

“We can’t say we will sort it out next week. We’re all trying to get something to work and everyone fired against Belle Vue, which was good.

“At number two, you go in heats one, six, eight and 10 so you don’t really get a lot of time in between but also the track doesn’t change a lot so you can make little adjustments.

“Starting off with a win helped me and, in heat eight, I was off gate four. I was trying but couldn’t do too much. The outside wasn’t as good as I expected.

“I may have been a bit too flat for my last one with Brady but we still got a 5-1, so it was good."

Leicester: Kenneth Bjerre, Ricky Wells, Charles Wright, Krystian Pieszczek, Hans Andersen, James Sarjeant, Todd Kurtz.

Poole: Brady Kurtz, Josh Grajczonek, Kacper Woryna, Richie Worrall, Linus Sundstrom, Frederik Jakobsen, Nicolai Klindt.