PROMOTER Danny Ford insisted youngster Nathan Ablitt retained the “full backing” of Pirates despite his struggles over the past two meetings.

The 18-year-old has toiled in recent weeks on the road for Poole at number seven in their line-up, drawing blanks in meetings against Redcar and Glasgow.

But with another opportunity to showcase his talent at Birmingham tomorrow (7.30pm), Ford has stressed GB youngster Ablitt will be given time to adapt to racing in the second tier.

He told the Daily Echo: “We’ve explained to Nathan this is going to be a massive step up for him in terms of quality.

“Riders in the Championship are racing for a living. It’s not like the National League where you are just honing your skills.

“At Championship-level, while riders are still working to improve, a lot of them are going out there, trying to earn a living and providing for their families.

“It’s a huge step up for Nathan and we’ve explained to him this is his apprenticeship year. He has got our full backing.

“His heads been down the past couple of ones. He expects better from himself but we have to just manage expectations.

“We have had a few really, really tough away meetings now against strong teams with strong reserves. It was always going to be tough for him.

“But it’s a new challenge at Birmingham and then back home at Wimborne Road next week. Hopefully he can find a bit more form at home.

“If he starts scoring points at home that will do his confidence the world of good and I’m sure points away from home will follow in due course.”

Ablitt was brought in at reserve by the Poole promotion this season, Ford describing him as a “long-term project” having announced his signing back in January.

“He beats himself up a lot and he feels he can do better,” added the Pirates chief.

“But I have said to him since day one, he has our full backing and anything we can do to help, if any of the boys can give him any advice, just ask. That’s the most important thing, it’s a learning experience for him.

“It is tough when you are going out there and not scoring any points but a lot of riders have been in the same position he is in.

“He has just got to put his head down and, eventually, it should all click.”