NEIL Middleditch has urged supporters to be the “eighth man” for Pirates in their crunch clash with Somerset at Wimborne Road tomorrow.

Poole will be seeking to overturn a 46-44 deficit when they take on the Rebels in the second leg of the SGB Premiership play-off semi-final (7.30pm).

The prize is a showdown with King’s Lynn or Belle Vue and team boss Middleditch hopes fans will play their part in keeping on course his team’s hopes for 70th anniversary title success.

He told the Daily Echo: “The crowd play a huge part. They are our eighth man.

“They make a great difference. Even under the crash helmets, the riders can hear the fans at the start line and that’s all part of the game.

“I definitely want to see a big turnout. I think Somerset will bring quite a few supporters along and of course we want the crowd to get right behind the boys.

“We need their support and, hopefully, we will do the job on the track.”

Many neutrals believe Pirates have the upper hand after keeping Somerset reined in during the first leg at the Oaktree Arena.

But Middleditch will stress to his troops that the job is nowhere near done.

He said: “I don’t know if there is such a thing as a nice deficit but two points is far better than anyone expected.

“We have to seal the deal. The main focus of my chat with the boys will be that we must not be complacent because Somerset are a very good team.

“We have to hit the ground running, build a lead and maintain it. We don’t want to lose out early on and then be trying to catch up.”

The Rebels will be without the sidelined Bradley Wilson-Dean, with Richard Lawson, Aaron Summers, Nico Covatti and Jake Allen eligible to cover his rides.

Middleditch said: “Their rider replacement comes in pretty well with the likes of Lawson and Allen.

“They are in the semis because they are a good side and their cover for Bradley will be fine.

“I don’t think that will be to the detriment of the team.”

Pirates made it to the semi-final having been bottom of the league table at the beginning of July.

“I’ve been in plenty of play-off situations before and it’s a big deal,” said Middleditch.

“It’s a great accomplishment for any team to get to the semis and the way we did it this year was particularly pleasing.

“Of course, I will be a bit nervous. But whatever happens, we have done tremendously well to get where we are.”

Pirates: (from) Chris Harris, Josh Grajczonek, Kacper Woryna, Nicolai Klindt, Brady Kurtz, Richie Worrall, Frederik Jakobsen.

Somerset: (from) Jason Doyle, Bradley Wilson-Dean r/r, Aaron Summers, Richard Lawson, Jack Holder, Jake Allen, Nico Covatti.