PROMOTER Danny Ford revealed Pirates were still doing “everything we can” to track Ondrej Smetana in their line-up but admitted: “Now we are having to explore other options.”

Czech rider Smetana was declared as the club’s replacement for Zane Keleher, who has since joined Plymouth Gladiators – the team Poole host in the Championship Knockout Cup first round second leg tomorrow.

But travel issues have once again meant Smetana is not set to feature for the Wimborne Road side, who will track Kyle Bickley as a guest in his place.

Asked about Smetana’s struggle to feature for Pirates, Ford told the Daily Echo: “We are still working on it as much as we can.

“It’s not an easy situation with the new rules that have been put in place. It’s really slowed everything down.

“We are exploring every avenue at the minute, just in case Ondrej can’t be joining.

“We will be running a guest tomorrow which will be Kyle Bickley, who had a fantastic meeting here with Berwick a few weeks ago.

“He fits in with what we have been given as a guest and hopefully we will have some news about the permanent situation in due course.

“We are doing everything we can behind the scenes. It’s not an easy situation for us, for our supporters, for all the riders.

“We are doing everything we can and I just want everyone to know that.”

Asked whether Poole were now looking at other alternatives other than Smetana, Ford replied: “We are looking at other options now. We have to because we can’t wait around forever in this situation.

“It’s not been an ideal situation by any means. We know that.

“When we dropped Zane we hoped Ondrej would slot straight in. Now we are having to explore other options in case Ondrej can’t join us.”

Pirates hold an eight-point lead going into the second leg with the Gladiators, having triumphed 49-41 at Plymouth Coliseum last month.