BOSS Matt Ford insisted he could not see the top two divisions of British Speedway merging despite there being a threadbare number of teams in the top flight.

The Pirates chief this week confirmed the Wimborne Road club’s intention to drop down to the SGB Championship in 2020 and feature in the second tier for the first time since 1990.

Poole were one of seven teams in the Premiership this season, while 11 clubs featured in the Championship.

A plethora of riders doubled up between clubs in the two divisions last season.

Nico Covatti rode for both Poole and Somerset, Ricky Wells featured for Pirates and Edinburgh and Thomas H Jonasson represented Poole and Berwick at the back end of the campaign.

Asked whether he could eventually see the divisions becoming one bigger league, Ford told the Daily Echo: “No. Not at this point in time. There genuinely aren’t enough riders in the world.

“Unless we reinvent the wheel and go from seven-man teams to something like four or five-man teams, like Denmark do.

“They have five-man teams and that is a feasible option but at this point in time I don’t believe it will happen.”

He added: “The riders double up because they are needed in both leagues and I don’t have an issue with that whatsoever, that’s a good thing.

“But we will have the chance to see a lot of new faces at Poole in 2020 and some big cities like Glasgow, Edinburgh, Birmingham and Newcastle, who will all be coming along for us to race against.

“Of course, we will also be able to take on our near neighbours Somerset again in a local derby.”

Pirates switch to the Championship is expected to be ratified at next month's British Speedway Promoters' AGM.