DANNY Ford admitted Pirates' big hitters will have to be at their best to nullify the threat of legend Bjarne Pedersen at Plymouth tomorrow.

Pirates great Pedersen is set to lead the Gladiators' charge at The Coliseum, with team-mate Jason Crump still likely to miss out due to rib injuries suffered in a spectacular clash whilst riding last month.

Poole have not ridden since beating Berwick Bandits 52-38 at Wimborne Road on June 9, and promoter Ford is looking forward to seeing his side back on track in Championship Knockout Cup action tomorrow evening (7pm).

"It’s a bit of a stop-start season," Ford told the Daily Echo.

"We’ve got two meetings in eight days now, hopefully get a little bit of momentum and then we’ve got a bit of a break until our next one.

"It’s a very strange season at the minute, but no-one was expecting it to go perfectly so just have to make the most of it. Hopefully now we’ve got a win under our belts we can take that momentum forward and get a result at Plymouth."

He added: "Obviously Crumpy took that horrible spill a couple of weeks ago. I’m wishing him a speedy recovery.

"Unfortunately riders, when you get to that age, you don’t seem to recover quite as quickly. I know he wanted to be back for it, but it doesn’t seem it’s going to be that way.

"But Bjarne Pedersen, obviously a Poole Pirates legend, second all-time top scorer for the Pirates and it’s going to be great to see him. Although on the other side of the pits, it’s still going to be fantastic.

"There was a TV meeting on the other night in the Premiership and he was absolutely fantastic for Peterborough. I think he got 12 or 13 and it was some of the best racing I’ve seen in years, so he’s still got it.

"He’s still a class act. Our boys know that. Our three heat leaders are going to have to be on top of their form to get the best of him."

Pirates will be boosted by the return of number one Rory Schlein.

The Aussie-born charger crashed out in heat one whilst riding for Pirates at Glasgow earlier this month. Fortunately, his injuries were not as severe as first feared and he is now ready to return to action.

In Schlein's absence, Hans Andersen guested for Poole, scoring 12+2 to help secure victory over Berwick.

"It’s going to be great to have Rory back," said Ford.

"Obviously we’re not expecting him to be 100 per cent, but at this level he should still be banging in decent scores.

"It’s encouraging to have our full team back and luckily we had Hans stepping in (against Berwick) and did an absolutely fabulous job, dropping only one point.

"So Rory has got to kind of step up and he knows that. It’s obviously his last year in British speedway so he wants to make an impact and I’m sure it will take no time for him to get back into the swing of things."

Plymouth are a new addition to the league this season, but Poole do have some insight of the Devon track within their line-up.

Skipper Danny King has twice guested for Gladiators in recent weeks in Crump's absence, scoring 15+1 in a home meeting against Kent in a scintillating display.

Meanwhile, Ben Cook's brother Zach is part of the Plymouth side.

"Danny has been a guest for them a couple of times now and has been absolutely fabulous there," said Ford.

"He’s going to definitely take some beating around there.

"Ben’s brother Zach is riding in the Plymouth team, so a bit of brotherly rivalry there. No doubt he’ll want to one-up his brother.

"He’s been spannering for Zach this season, so he’s seen how the Plymouth track is.

"Hopefully that kind of gives him a bit of an advantage.

"I’m expecting good things from both of them."

The second leg of this tie is due to take place at Wimborne Road on July 21.

Pirates: Schlein, Keleher, Worrall, Nielsen, King, Cook, Hume.