PIRATES chief Matt Ford is hoping to swoop for a third seven-point rider – which would allow him to bring back James Shanes.

Ford has 10.73 points left to recruit his final two racers and Puddletown-based Shanes is available on 2.88, which would leave 7.85 for another big gun.

However, the arrival of the mystery charger is dependent on the Polish authorities acting on their promise to lift the controversial three-league rule.

And Ford admits he could be forced to take a different route.

He told the Daily Echo: "There is a direction I see the club going in and that would open the door for a return for James Shanes.

"But for now I have to keep my options open as it may be that the club signs a five-and-a-half point rider and a five point rider, or a six-and-a-half point rider and a four-point rider.

"I've known from day one which team I wanted and six weeks later, I'm still waiting for the three-league rule to be resolved.

"The BSPA chairman, Buster Chapman, and the Danish and Swedish governing bodies are involved in the same conversation and we are all waiting for the Poles to sanction this change, which was agreed at an FIM meeting in mid-November.

"Once that is done, we can press ahead."