PIRATES promoter Matt Ford admitted to having had mixed emotions after replacing Linus Sundstrom with Poole track specialist Chris ‘Bomber’ Harris.

Ford expressed his disappointment at Sundstrom’s request to be taken out of the firing line after the Swede conceded he had struggled to find his form with the Dorset club.

But the recent demise of Rye House left Harris without a team in the SGB Premiership and Ford said he had been overjoyed to be able to draft in the three-time British champion.

Sundstrom managed 14 wins and 12 second places in 14 meetings for Poole having been unveiled as a member of their one-to-seven in January.

Ford told the Daily Echo: “I am disappointed Linus felt he couldn’t make it work at the moment but the door is left open for him.

“He phoned me on Wednesday and said he would like to be stood down for a period of time. We enjoy working with him and he is a pleasure to deal with and a great guy.

“But, by his own standards, he hasn’t found the form he was hoping to and it has affected him, not only in the UK, but also in Sweden and Poland.

“He said he couldn’t put his finger on the reason why but he wants to take a period off to try to recapture his form and get his confidence back.

“He has been riding in four leagues most weeks and that involves a lot of travelling. He said he felt he had been letting down the team and it would be in the interests of all parties if he stepped away.”

Pirates would not be permitted to re-introduce Sundstrom for a minimum of 28 days from when he misses their next meeting – which is at King’s Lynn on July 23.

And Ford insisted he would have no hesitation in calling on the 27-year-old should any of his other riders suffer a dip in form.

Harris, who won the Elite League three times with Coventry, will don the skull and crossbones race jacket for the first time when Pirates do battle with the Stars a week on Monday.

Ford said: “He has always been a thorn in our side, not least in 2010 when he led Coventry to the title after they beat us in the final.

“What happened at Rye House was very disappointing for speedway in general and Chris only became available due to their demise.

“He phoned me just after it had happened but I didn’t have a position to put him into. I told him to hold fire because a lot can happen in a short space of time in this sport, especially with injuries.

“It is strange how things work out but this came from left field because I wasn’t expecting to receive the call from Linus.

“Bomber is a very popular figure with Poole supporters and I know our fans will be excited to welcome him to Wimborne Road where he is a track expert.”

Harris’s first home meeting will be against Leicester on July 25.