NATHAN Ablitt has thanked Poole Pirates fans for the support they have shown him during his debut campaign at the club, admitting: "I'm not an idiot, I know my performances maybe haven't been up to scratch."

It has proven to be a baptism of fire at Championship level for the 18-year-old reserve, who is still seeking his first race win in the skull and crossbones.

With Poole opting to recruit three big-hitting heat leaders in Richard Lawson, Steve Worrall and Danny King, they left themselves little room for manoeuvre lower down the order.

They turned to Ablitt, who came in on a two-point average, in what promoter Danny Ford described as a "long-term project".

Speaking ahead of the 2022 campaign, Ford said: "It will be a learning season for him, absorbing as much as he can.

“As long as we see that continual growth and improvement over the season, I look forward to working with him for many seasons to come.”

As Pirates made a strong start to the Championship campaign, all was going to plan, with Ablitt building his knowledge during his first full season in the second tier, chipping in with points here and there.

But as results began to turn for Poole over the past month, Ablitt's contributions have come into sharper focus.

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Prior to Friday's contest at Edinburgh, Ablitt had picked up just 10 paid 14 from his 13 league meetings for Poole this season, finishing last in the vast majority of his rides.

However, the Battle-born talent has since shown signs of his potential. The teenager recorded three third-placed finishes at Armadale, before contributing two points in Wednesday night's huge 51-39 win over Glasgow Tigers.

In between came his seventh zero-point showing of the season, in the 45-45 draw at Berwick.

Asked if it has been difficult at times mentally, failing to contribute points to the team's tally, Ablitt told the Daily Echo: "For sure, it has been tough at points.

"When I go out and score zero points, I feel like I’m letting the team down. But not just the team, all the fans.

"I feel as if I could contribute a bit more, which I’ve started to do a bit more recently, then maybe the results could be different.

"All I can really do is thank the fans, the management, for the support and the patience with me. There’s still a long way to go, but I feel like we’re on the right path."

There were big cheers on the home straight as Ablitt crossed the line for each of his third-placed showings ahead of promising young Aussie Connor Bailey against Glasgow.

Discussing the support he has had from the fans this season, Ablitt said: "It’s really encouraging for me.

"I’m not an idiot, I know my performances maybe haven’t been up to scratch and where they should be.

"It would’ve been easy for the fans to get on my back and sort of not really accept me and the development side of things.

"But everyone has been great and I really couldn’t have wished for more behind me.

"It makes me want to pay them back, the patience and the faith they’ve shown in me, I want to show it’s for a good reason and hopefully it will come good."

He added: "I beat Connor. He is going well at the minute, so to beat him twice and (James) Sarjeant up at Edinburgh was real positives for me and it’s just about getting that consistency now."

Asked how much of a confidence booster his tally of 3+2 at Edinburgh has been to him, Ablitt said: "Friday was a good meeting for myself.

"Paid five from three rides, I was pleased with it. I sort of feel as if I could’ve been doing it all year, but my gating was holding me back.

"But I made a few starts at Edinburgh and made a few starts (on Wednesday) and I’m in the points.

"It’s encouraging. I feel as if I belong and I know I can do it, it’s just getting the consistency and doing it week in, week out."