PIRATES promoter Danny Ford insisted Aussie duo Zane Keleher and Ben Cook were still “keen as mustard” to compete in Britain this season.

The pair were meant to make their British debuts in the skull and crossbones in 2020 but saw that opportunity wiped out by the coronavirus pandemic.

Cook managed to head back to his homeland in March last year, while Keleher was stuck in Britain unable to ply his trade across the summer in the UK.

Pirates are, at present, set to begin their season with an away clash at Plymouth on May 25, with Keleher and Cook listed in the Dorset club’s septet.

Asked for the latest on the pair from Down Under, Ford told the Daily Echo: “With them, we have kind of told them to leave it as late as possible because of how things are so easy to change.

“We don’t want the situation we had last year where we had two of them stuck over here without being able to earn a penny.

“That was a nightmare situation and one we want to avoid at all costs (again).

“When we’ve got those reassurances that everything is going to go ahead as planned, then we can get them over. They will have to do their quarantine.

“They will have letters of exemption, which they are both applying for at the minute.

“They are both keen as mustard – we are both looking forward to finally seeing those two guys on track.”

Quizzed on how much opting to come over again in 2021 said about the pair’s desire to ride for Poole, Ford replied: “It was something we were really concerned about because we’ve seen a few other Aussies – bigger names that aren’t going to be returning.

“The likes of Jake Allen and Josh Grajczonek won’t be coming to Europe this year, which is a massive blow for British speedway and speedway as a whole, because they are two great Aussie riders.

“They are much bigger names than Zane and Ben, who haven’t had a chance to prove themselves yet.

“We were a little concerned they would be swayed into making decisions based on what more senior riders were saying.

“But I think they are both making the right decision and holding out for us at the minute, while things are looking positive.

“When those guys do come and try to turn a wheel, it’s going to be really great for them. I am sure the supporters are going to get right behind them.”

Pirates’ opening home clash of the season comes against Plymouth in cup action at Wimborne Road on May 26.