Depleted Poole Pirates ready to claim third straight Knock-out Cup
The Poole Pirates can claim their third consecutive Knock-out Cup tonight when they take a 14-point lead into the second leg against the Coventry Bees.
Despite missing both Chris Holder and Darcy Ward, the Pirates put in a polished display to ease past their opponents in the first leg, and are favourites going into tonight's decider at Wimborne Road.
Since losing their top two riders to injury, the Pirates have remained positive - despite Swindon pipping them to the Elite League crown. Poole's replacement riders have been welcome additions, and the Dorset side have gone from strength to strength against both Coventry and semi-final opponents - the Peterborough Panthers.
Poole boss Matt Ford said: "We owe huge thanks to Niels-Kristian Iversen and Rory Schein for stepping in last week like they did and the performance of our Special K, Krzystof Kasprzak should not be overlooked.
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"But what we saw at Peterborough and Coventry - the absolute significance of how important the back-up riders can be and when you have points coming from all quarters of the side then the seemingly impossible can become a reality."
The Pirates have been hit with key injuries throughout the season. Ward is still recovering after being assaulted at a Dorset pub, while Holder suffered knee ligament damage following a big crash against Peterborough in the fist leg of the Knock-out Cup semi-final.
Earlier in the season, Piotr Pawlicki was ruled out, along with Dennis Andersson - who suffered a broken leg in August.
"After all that has been thrown at us, especially in this past month we are still in there battling" added Ford.
"Middlo (Neil Middleditch) and co should give themselves a huge pat on the back. I know for sure that the lads, including guests Niels-Kristian Iversen, Rory Schlein and Morten Risager will be wanting to win this for Chris, Darcy, Piotr and Dennis as much as for their own personal glory."
Tonight's meeting will be the last action of the season at Wimborne Road, and the Pirates are hoping to end on a high.
Poole Pirates: Rory Schlein, Niels-Kristian Iversen, Krzysztof Kasprzak, Morten Risager, Ludvig Lindgren, Kyle Howarth
Coventry Bees: Chris Harris, Scott Nicholls, Kenni Larsen, Edward Kennett, Aaron Summers, Richard Hall, Michael Szczepaniak