TASKMASTER Matt Ford has warned Paul Starke he must produce for Pirates or face the same fate as Kyle Newman.

As exclusively revealed by the Daily Echo yesterday, Peterborough charger Starke will replace fans' favourite Newman in the Poole one-to-seven – subject to approval from the British Speedway Promoters' Association.

A member of Pirates' title-winning team of two years ago, the 6.62-rated Starke was axed by Somerset as part of a triple change last month but has been in fine form for Peterborough in the second tier.

And Wimborne Road chief Ford has thrown down the gauntlet to the 26-year-old to prove he is a better option than home town hero Newman ahead of a crucial period in the SGB Premiership season.

Ford told the Daily Echo: "The conversation I've had with Paul is, 'don't make me have the same conversation with you'. It's abundantly clear that it's all about results and he needs to make sure he is scoring.

"He has taken that on board. While there is the sadness of Kyle coming out of the team, we also welcome Paul and I hope everyone gets behind him. Hopefully, he can help us become champions again.

"He became a big favourite with the fans in 2015 and has gone on to become a better rider since. It's all about timing and I feel the timing is correct in this case. He is the right man to bring in."

Newman has endured a difficult season to date having sustained a fractured shoulder blade and muscle damage in a high-speed crash at the season-opening Darcy Ward Invitational, a meeting ultimately abandoned due to an unfit track.

Following his return to fitness last month, the Puddletown resident scored 15 paid 20 points across four meetings, managing just three paid five in Friday's trip to Belle Vue.

And while Ford revealed he had parted ways with Newman with a heavy heart, he insisted he was making the change with winning in mind.

Ford said: "It's an awful telephone call you have to make, especially when you think so highly of the person you are making it to.

"But I'm 100 per cent certain Kyle will ride for us again. He was dealt a bad hand with his injury, which meant he was playing catch-up with everyone else who was already race fit.

"The public vote with their feet when we are not winning. It has an effect on our crowds and as tough a decision as this was to make, we have to win.

"I wanted to give Kyle an opportunity but his previous form has not quite returned and I feel the club would be vulnerable if we did not make the change.

"With these things, you can certainly get left with egg on your face. But it's about having a little bit of foresight and predicting what may happen."

Provided Pirates' move receives the green light from the BSPA, Starke will make his first appearance since rejoining the club against visitors Leicester a week tomorrow.