The Volvo Cars Poole Pirates will be aiming to turn around their disappointing start to the 2018 SGB Premiership campaign when they travel to champions Swindon tomorrow. The Pirates have suffered four successive league and cup defeats, but it doesn’t getting more tricky than facing the Robins on their own track.

Pirates boss Matt Ford is aware his title-favourites have not lived up to the pre-season tag but remains confident his mis-firing side can regain their belief. He said: “Things are just not happening for us at the moment”.

We are simply not competitive enough. “We need to turn it around, but Swindon is a far from easy task”
They were champions last year and have retained the majority of their side, so that gives us an idea of what we are up against.”

Ford reacted to the Pirates’ slow start to the campaign with a change at reserve, local boy James Shanes making way for two-time British under-19 champion Stefan Nielsen, who was born in Esbjerg, Denmark.

The 23-year-old currently rides for Scunthorpe in the SGB Championship but has gained top-flight experience with both Belle Vue and Swindon. Nielsen marked his appointment as a Pirate by registering his second paid maximum of the season for his Championship club and makes his Poole debut tomorrow.

The Robins have already inflicted a heavy 14-point home defeat on the Pirates this term, when the two sides met at Wimborne Road last month. The Dorset side suffered a similar score in their KO Cup trip to Somerset on Wednesday.

Tomorrow’s meeting will be the Pirates’ third away league match this season with a 43-47 defeat at Belle Vue and 36-54 beating by Wolverhampton behind them. Led by Nick Morris, the Robins have only completed two home matches this term, a 52-38 Charity Shield win over the Aces and a 48-42 victory against King’s Lynn in the league. But the Wiltshire side suffered a heavy reverse at King’s Lynn on Wednesday night.

Alongside Morris is fellow Australian Troy Batchelor, who has been a regular at Wimborne Road this season having guested against Poole for Belle Vue, ridden in the Pirates’ 70th Birthday Bash meeting and masterminded that Robins’ win with an 11-point return.

The new Pirates septet come together for the first time with their short trip to Blunsdon – which means former Robins asset and track specialist Peter Kildemand will be a pivotal rider for the Dorset side.
Poole’s next team action after tomorrow will be another away trip seven days later when they travel to Rye House.

Meanwhile, Wimborne Road hosts the Premiership Riders Championship on Wednesday which features the top two riders from each club, with captain Josh Grajczonek and number one Brady Kurtz representing the Pirates.

Swindon: Troy Batchelor, David Bellego, Adam Ellis, Nick Morris (capt), Tobias Musielak, Mitchell Davey, Zach Wajtknecht. Team manager: Alun Rossiter.
Poole: Josh Grajczonek (capt), Peter Kildemand, Brady Kurtz, Linus Sundstrom, Kacper Woryna, Stefan Nielsen, Mateusz Szczepaniak. Team manager: Neil Middleditch.