PIRATES co-promoter Danny Ford admitted the ball was in the court of Aussie ace Ben Cook over a return and added: “It’s up to him if he wants to come back.”

Cowra-born Cook had been set to make his debut in the skull and crossbones this season before Poole’s SGB Championship campaign was suspended due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The 22-year-old made the decision to return to his homeland back in March, as his dream to ride overseas was put on hold.

Ford last week confirmed Poole were fully committed to the 2020 campaign when it is given the green light to begin – whatever form it takes.

But with no racing likely until at least the latter stages of the summer, the Pirates chief said the club would be flexible over the highly-rated youngster’s availability.

Asked about the situation regarding Cook, Ford told the Daily Echo: “He is in a tough position now. He chose to go home, which I completely understand.

“It was probably the right decision for him, not being able to work over here.

“Ultimately, it’s up to him if he wants to come back, once we get an idea of how long or short it’s going to be.

“If he looks at the schedule and thinks ‘yeah I’m going to take that chance and come over’ full credit to him and we will gladly welcome him back.

“If not, we completely understand as well because we don’t really know what kind of season we will be looking at and how many fixtures there will be. Ultimately, the boys only get paid when they ride.

“We will wait on Ben, see what the situation is, assess it and speak to him when we do have a better idea of how many fixtures we will be having.”

Cook’s move to join up with Pirates was confirmed in January. He signed along with fellow Aussie Zane Keleher, who has remained in the UK amid the COVID-19 outbreak.

Cessnock-born Josh MacDonald has also stayed in the country, in a bid to get on track later in the year.

But Ford confirmed Pirates were in constant contact with Cook regarding the situation.

“We spoke to him about it and he fully understands,” he said.

“We are all just in the same boat

“Once we get that fixture list through, we will look at it together and see if it’s viable and financially viable for him to come over.

“If not, we will have to reassess things.”