Elite League Speedway: Belle Vue Aces v Poole Pirates
POOLE Pirates are hoping a win over Belle Vue Aces will be enough to secure the final Elite League playoff spot.
Following last week's impressive victory over Lakeside Hammers, Matt Ford's side can close in on fourth place with a win in Manchester tonight.
Lakeside are currently one point ahead of the Pirates in fourth place. If Poole can pick up a victory tonight - the Hammers would need to beat reigning Elite League champions Swindon Robins by more than seven points on Thursday to prevent Poole grabbing the final playoff spot.
"The season for us now hinges on this meeting - 15 heats" admitted Ford.
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"We need some return from it, ideally all four points as it has become a bit congested for that all-important fourth place. We've been there before and done it.
"I firmly believe we have the riders with the passion and the ability that can do the job. But Belle Vue is a tricky track and Aces are going to be sore from losing at home last week - their first defeat in five matches."
The Aces will be without captain Craig Cook tonight who will be in Premier League action with Edinburgh. Kauko Nieminen will also miss tonight's meeting through injury.
The hosts will be boosted by the return from injury of former Poole riders Ales Dryml and Magnus Zetterstrom.
"I have absolutely no doubt they (Belle Vue) will be keen to bring their home programme to a close with something to cheer about" added Ford.
"We want to extend our programme and so getting through to those playoffs is the focused goal right now."
Belle Vue Aces: Lasse Bjerre (guest), Rider Replacement for Craig Cook, Ales Dryml, Ulrich Ostergaard, Kevin Wolbert, Matej Zagar (capt), Magnus Zetterstrom
Poole Pirates: Micky Dyer, Josh Grajczonek, Greg Hancock, Maciej Janowski, Tomas H Jonasson, Rohan Tungate, Darcy Ward (capt)