TEAM manager James Denham is confident SGB Championship newcomers Workington Comets can “make a statement” against Poole Pirates on Wednesday night.

Workington are due to travel south for two fixtures in the space of two days, starting at Plymouth Gladiators tonight, before heading to Wimborne Road.

Back in the league for the first time since 2018, Workington have made a decent start to the season with four wins from eight meetings.

Their septet has an interesting mix of experienced riders such as Craig Cook, Claus Vissing and Troy Batchelor, alongside some new faces to British speedway in Tate Zischke and Antti Vuolas.

Their reserve duo are teenager Sam McGurk and Celina Liebmann, who is the first female to ride professionally in one of Britain’s top leagues.

“Plymouth and Poole are tough places to visit,” said Denham.

“Plymouth obviously having one of the smaller tracks in the UK poses quite a challenge for our newcomers, and likewise, Poole has been a fortress for the home side over recent years.

“But we have definitely got the capability in our team to go to tracks like Plymouth and Poole and make a statement.

“We have already started to show great signs of progress in our side from one to seven, even from our experienced riders like Batch, Cookie and Claus – they have been excellent so far.

“The team spirit we have got at the moment is unbelievable.”

Looking ahead to this week’s clash against the Cumbrian outfit, Pirates promoter Danny Ford said: “It was great news for British Speedway when Workington re-opened their doors last season and even better news when they decided to make the step up to the Championship this year.

“It is always nice to create moments of history and Wednesday will have a double helping of it as we will also see a Poole team compete in a league match against a female rider for the first time, and we extend a very warm welcome to Celina, who is most certainly trying to clear the way for more women to break into the sport at league level.

“They also have a couple of other riders who we have yet to see ride here with Finn Antti Vuolas really making good strides in British speedway and Tate Zischke settling in well."

He added: "Workington have qualified for the final stages of the BSN Series having won their group which contained Scunthorpe and Redcar and that in itself tells a story, so there is no question of this being an easy fixture for us.

“But we have seen the spirit in the Poole side come to the fore in our matches this season, not least in our three away meetings where we have found ourselves very much on the back foot in the early half of the meeting but gone on to force last heat deciders.

“I really think we could be in for a very entertaining contest."

Pirates: Lawson, Thomsen, Brennan, Z Cook, B Cook (c), Hagon, Perry.

Workington: C Cook (c), Zischke, Vuolas, Vissing, Batchelor, Liebmann, McGurk.