DANNY Ford believes Leicester Lions will consider themselves favourites to progress through tomorrow's Championship semi-final, but insists: "Play-off speedway is what Poole Speedway is all about."

Pirates were left disappointed following Wednesday's first leg at Wimborne Road, despite recording yet another home victory.

Poole battled back from being behind halfway through the meeting to win 48-42, taking a slender six-point advantage to Beaumont Park.

But given Leicester's formidable home record this season, losing just once in their 10 league outings, Ford feels the pendulum is currently swinging towards the Lions.

The two sides will do battle on Saturday evening (7.30pm), looking to book a spot in the play-off final against either Edinburgh Monarchs or Glasgow Tigers later this month.

Bournemouth Echo:

Discussing the finely-poised tie, promoter Ford told the Daily Echo: "I think we were all quite disappointed (after the first leg). I said to the boys before the meeting that I felt we needed to put the tie to bed on the night because we know how strong they (Leicester) can be at theirs.

"They are a very strong team and that showed on Wednesday night. So we were looking for (a lead of) 10 really, to come away with six is not a disaster, but I’d say it’s definitely more in their favour now than it is ours.

"But we’ve already gone there earlier in the season and pulled out a win, so it is achievable. It’s going to be really hard. It’s on a knife-edge."

He added: "I think they (Leicester) are going to be (well up for it). They’ll think that that’s a win for them in their books (on Wednesday).

"They’ll think that they’re favourites now.

"But, listen, this is when the Pirates come to life. Play-off speedway is what Poole Speedway is all about.

"We always seem to find that extra gear and we’ll be looking for a gear or two more on Saturday."

Bournemouth Echo:

Having topped the Championship standings, Pirates had both the choice of semi-final opponents and also the right to stage the second leg at Wimborne Road.

However, with the deadline to get all league and cup meetings complete by the end of the month, Poole waived that right, instead hosting the first leg before travelling to the Midlands this weekend.

Ford explained: "We had to forfeit the second leg (at home), just to get the season continued.

"Otherwise we’d have had three weeks between home fixtures and two weeks was bad enough, which showed on Wednesday night.

"Some of the boys were a little below par. We needed to take that first leg, just to get the ball rolling in the play-offs.

"It was a risk, it hasn’t really paid off for us, but we don’t know what would have happened if we’d taken the second leg and had three weeks between meetings.

"It may all turn out to be a pay-off, but it’s going to be a hell of a battle."

Pirates look set to name the same septet which beat Leicester on Wednesday night.

Despite initial concerns over a shoulder injury to Rory Schlein, the veteran Aussie has declared himself fit, while Zach Cook will again guest in place of the injured Stefan Nielsen.

Bournemouth Echo:

Cook has proven a revelation at reserve in Pirates' past two meetings, including a return of 10+2 to earn the rider of the night crown in midweek.

"Thankfully we’ve found a half decent replacement (for Nielsen) in Zach, he’s done absolutely fantastic in the past two meetings at home," said Ford.

"We’ve got Zach again on Saturday at Leicester, which is another track that he isn’t overly familiar with, having only been there once before and on his last visit with Plymouth, his team, he failed to score.

"He was at number three, which put him in as a heat leader, which was very tough for him.

"Obviously he’ll be coming in as reserve and he’s in good form now.

"He’s shown that in his past couple of meetings and he’s fired up, he wants to do the job for us and be a part of a title-winning team."

Ford added: "It’s going to be a big team performance and hopefully we can pull something out the bag."

Leicester also name the same one-to-seven, with Chris Harris guesting for Hans Andersen.

Pirates: Steve Worrall, Danyon Hume, Rory Schlein, Ben Cook, Danny King, Zach Cook (guest), Benjamin Basso.

Leicester: Nick Morris, Dan Thompson, Ryan Douglas, Kyle Howarth, Chris Harris (guest), Joe Thompson, Zaine Kennedy.