TEAM boss Neil Middleditch stressed the need for Pirates to head into the play-offs at full strength and insisted: “I want to go out there with seven riders”.

Poole have been operating with six of their regular septet and using rider replacement to cover for the injured Richie Worrall, who continues to nurse a broken ankle.

But Middleditch, whose side were beaten 53-37 at Swindon on Thursday, admitted he would like the club to bring in a replacement to fill the number two spot for the business end of the season.

He told the Daily Echo: “We have only got six men at the moment. I think we’ve got to really sit down and pick out what the best option is for us to go into the play-offs.

“We certainly can’t go into the play-offs with six men, I think.

“Rider replacement at Swindon got us six points, but it only got us six because Brady (Kurtz) had one ride and won it, otherwise it just would have got us three points and that is not going to win you meetings.

“We have been doing this for a while and everybody’s saying ‘oh you’re stronger’ but no we’re not stronger. I want to go out there with seven riders on a track, not six.

“It puts the pressure heavily on Nico (Covatti), Ricky (Wells) and Josh (Grajczonek) in heat eight. Josh has been doing well in heat eight but we can’t rely on that.

“We need a number two to score us points but who is there about? That’s the problem, there’s just not the riders about.”

Poole are once again set to run rider replacement when they visit fifth-placed Wolverhampton in the SGB Premiership tomorrow.

They then make the trip to Ipswich on Thursday.

Co-promoter Danny Ford told the club website: “We’ve certainly got the meetings left to comfortably make it into the play-offs, but as always, if you don’t get the points, you don’t get anything.

“Four points should be enough to ensure we finish in the top four and if we can do that from our next two away meetings, that will really give us confidence going into the play-offs.

“But we want to finish top – that’s been the aim from day one and it hasn’t changed.”