Champions are in town this week

POOLE are the Showground's visitors this Thursday, April 16, for what is always a fiercely competitive fixture.None of our current Elite League opponents have a better Showground record than the Pirates and despite a somewhat surprising start to the season, they are expected to again provide the Panthers with stiff opposition.

POOLE are the Showground's visitors this Thursday, April 16, for what is always a fiercely competitive fixture.

None of our current Elite League opponents have a better Showground record than the Pirates and despite a somewhat surprising start to the season, they are expected to again provide the Panthers with stiff opposition.

Led by arguably the best EL spearhead of Bjarne Pedersen and Chris Holder, both of whom ride Alwalton very well, they posses the potential to upstage the home side and with Joe Screen as third heat leader, they have another rider that revels in the Showground's wide open spaces.

Following early problems however, the Pirates have been forced to make changes at the bottom end with Jason Doyle, Kyle Legault and Craig Watson all being ruled out for various reasons. They have brought in Lukasz Jankowski, Paul Hurry and Chris Neath to bolster the tail with Promoter Matt Ford being very open of the fact recently that he has had problems finding riders for the team.

The remaining members of the team Daniel Davidsson, Carl Stonehewer and Tomasz Piszcz like Paul Hurry have all ridden for Panthers in the past so know the track well, although few have performed well on it in recent times.

The Pirates have like the Panthers already tasted defeat at home as Eastbourne have won and drawn there this year, however they beat the leagues title favourites Swindon in the first league match of 2009 and should never be taken lightly.

Most Read

Poole team news suggests Piszcz and Hurry will be occupying the reserve roles on Thursday.

Panthers meanwhile welcome back Karol Zabik to the team following a re-declaration last week and this is great news for the team and its supporters following on from the team's victory over Ipswich. Zabik's inclusion means the team will be at full strength for the first time in three matches, and team manager Trevor Swales was keen to avoid continuing the use of rider replacement as he feels it was putting undue pressure on the rest of the team at a difficult time.

Andrew Tully, Man of the match against Ipswich retains the reserve's position and he again will partner Kenneth Hansen with hopes of another dynamic and free scoring partnership that was so instrumental in the defeat of the Witches.

Andrew Tully said “To be honest I don't pay to much attention to who we up against and I just go out to do the best I can and hopefully I will again have a good meeting against the current league champions, it's all good experience for me at this time and as long as I pick up a few points I will be happy, I very much appreciate the help and assistance I have been receiving from the riders and the supporters and the management have been great as well”.

Team captain Niels Kristian Iversen was back to his best last week after some great starts and first corner swoops in the match against Ipswich and he was a lot happier post match having had several problems in earlier matches. Niels Kristian Iversen said: I felt a lot better tonight and I actually made some good starts, the bike felt good and the team did very well, everyone scored and it makes a difference”.

Promoter Mick Bratley said: “Tonight our season commences. The return of Karol Zabik, who is so integral to our side, will give us a further boost following last week's much-needed win over Ipswich. Karol's return is more than welcome, and if the team perform as well as they did last week, it could potentially give us a further problem. Who will drop out when Vissing is ready to return from injury later this month? It's a nice problem to have, though!”

Owner Rick Frost said: “This Thursday we extend a warm welcome to Matt Ford, Neil Middleditch and the Poole Pirates to the Showground. Comments in the media suggest this isn't the strongest team they have fielded, but their results to date tell a different story. This will be no easy meeting for us against a very professionally run team. Having said that I expect a convincing home win for our team. We are not up to full strength yet but the return to action of our Polish “pocket rocket” Karol Zabik will be a big boost for us. Our great performance as a team against Ipswich has shown you all that our riders are dialed in now and ready to take on all comers with confidence. I wish all the riders a safe evenings racing and remind all our supporters to get there early to support your team for what I am sure will be an exciting and hard fought meeting”.

Teams: in alphabetical order.

Peterborough Panthers

Kenneth BJERRE (7.88), Ales DRYML (4.53), Kenneth HANSEN (3.57), Niels Kristian IVERSEN (7.80) Captain, Mads KORNELIUSSEN (6.94), Andrew TULLY (3.49) & Karol ZABIK (4.56).

Team Managers Trevor & Wayne Swales

Poole Pirates

Daniel DAVIDSSON (4.05), Chris HOLDER (8.80), Paul HURRY (3.59), Lukasz JANKOWSKI (4.00), Bjarne PEDERSEN (9.13) Captain, Tomasz PISZCZ (3.56) & Joe SCREEN (6.03).

Team Manager Neil Middleditch