BOSS Matt Ford welcomed back Chris Holder to the Pirates septet and then admitted he could not imagine the former world champion slipping the net again.

Having been overlooked for 2016 due to his mammoth 12.53 average, five-time Elite League winner Holder has agreed to a 10th season at Poole following a tumultuous campaign at King's Lynn.

And having finally got his man, Ford is desperate to ensure the 30-year-old remains part of the team beyond this year.

Ford told the Daily Echo: "It is a pleasure to have Chris back. He spent a season away which I can assure people was to do with the multiplication of the averages last year.

"I believe Chris Holder and Poole Pirates fit together hand in glove and I don't think it's any surprise that we didn't make the play-off final without him. It's also clear to see that Chris had his poorest year in speedway yet.

"I'm very comfortable having him back. He is part of the furniture. Having let him slip the net once, I can't imagine it would happen again but of course rules and financial circumstances do dictate things at times, as they did last year.

"I hadn't put together a single team for this year which didn't have him in it so while it's taken longer than I would have hoped, I never had any thoughts of Chris not lining up for the Pirates this year.

"We're also speaking about a longer partnership to make sure what happened in 2017 does not happen again."

The arrival of the 7.16-rated charger signals the end of a lengthy winter pursuit. Holder had been keen to race alongside younger brother and Poole asset Jack but with the latter not part of Ford's plans, a link-up at Wimborne Road was not feasible.

Jack instead joined Somerset and although the Rebels were believed to be interested in a loan swoop for his older sibling, Ford did not wish to sanction a second Holder loan departure.

Ford added: "I've already gone on record to say that the delay between myself and Chris was not anything financial. Chris wanted to enhance his brother's career and felt it would have been better being in the same team in 2018.

"Unfortunately, I had done the team in a different way this year.

"I respect Chris's point of view. It was never that he didn't want to join Poole, it was only that he felt he would be able to help his brother's career by being with him.

"But I am pleased that Chris has understood the club's needs. In the long term, I am hoping the two of them will both be here."

Ford has 10.73 points left to recruit his final two riders.

Pirates 2018: Brady Kurtz 8.08, Josh Grajczonek 7.34, Chris Holder 7.16, Kacper Woryna 4.65, Mateusz Szczepaniak 4.54.