Poole Pirates: 'Pride and character' to help side into Knock-out Cup final
Poole Pirates team manger Neil Middleditch is hoping his side can bounce back from Monday's playoff disappointment - when they take on Peterborough in the semi-finals of the Knock-Out Cup tonight.
The Dorset side fell against the Swindon Robins in the Elite League Grand Final as the Wiltshire side took an aggregate 95-89 win to secure their first Elite League title since 1967.
The Pirates need to regain their composure as they prepare to take on the Panthers twice within two days for a place in the Knock-Out Cup final.
Middleditch said: "I was proud of the way the boys came back from nine points down with four heats left on Monday and beat Swindon on the night. That showed a lot of pride and character.
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"I'm now asking for them to use those last four heats as a starting point for the semi-final against the Panthers."
Darcy Ward will once again be missing for Poole. The Australian rider has been discharged from hospital after he was assaulted at the weekend, but is still not fit to race. Niels Kristian Iversen will take Ward's place, while both Sam Masters and Kyle Howarth are likely to feature after missing Monday's Elite League Grand Final decider.
Poole promoter Matt Ford added: "We have to pick ourselves up after Monday. We were beaten by the better side over the tie but we still have the KO Cup to ride for.
"It would be easy enough to look for reasons why we lost but it's more about going back out and delivering performances now.
"Pride enough should fire the lads up. Swindon were good value for their playoff final win. You could see what the success meant to their fans. They had waited a long time for that title and fair play to them.
"But I want Poole fans to have something to celebrate. We have won the Elite Shield, enjoyed a remarkable record-breaking unbeaten run and here we are now at the latter stages of the KO Cup - an opportunity for some silverware - a piece that we have become quite attached to over recent seasons."
Peterborough will be without top rider Linus Sundstrom, along with Ryan Sullivan and Krzysztof Buczkowski. Scott Nicholls and Mads Korneliussen will come into the line-up.