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  Poole Pirates v Plymouth Gladiators - Preview  

THE Pirates carry an eight point lead into Wednesday night's KO Cup second leg match at Wimborne Road but mid-order battler Stefan Nielsen is not looking at it from that perspective.

"We just want to go out there and go about our normal business and look for a meeting win. As long as we do that then we will go through to the next round and that is definitely where we want to be."

Wise words from the 26 year old who dropped only one point from the first leg at Plymouth and who has formed a solid partnership with Steve Worrall, a rider he knows very well. In the 17 heats the pair have ridden together so far this season they have returned eight maximum heat scores and three 4-2 advantages, adding five drawn heats and suffered just the one heat reversal.

Stefan reflects, "I think Stevie is probably the rider I hav ridden with the most out of everyone. I started my career with him at Scunthorpe in the National League and out of my nine seasons in the UK we have been on the same team in, I think, four of them and we have been partnered a fair bit together in the team line-ups just as we are here at Poole for three of our four programmed rides. Stevie is a great gater so I know he will always be there on the first bend and so I just have to focus on making some good starts too and we can hopefully keep dominating the first few bends."

The opportunity at last to race in front of a full house is one that excites Nielsen, who heaped praise on the Poole track admitting "The track has been really good and I have absolutely no complaints about that at all. It was a bit different for our second meeting but that is quite often the case for most home tracks in the speedway world and besides, it wasn't anything too drastic so that is all good. I just want to see the place packed again and be able to her the full noise of the Poole Pirates fans. That would be awesome."

With Wednesday marking the start of a much busier period - a schedule of ten meetings in 21 days - for the Pirates, Stefan, like most riders is looking forward to more racing. "It has been quite a slow start with a couple of weeks off in between some meetings which isn't ideal of course, especially after a whole season lay-off for most of us. But in speedway it seems quite often that it is a case of fast or famine. You are either in all-systems-go mode and racing like four of five times a week when things are going well and you pick up guest bookings and the like, or just the opposite with not enough meetings at all. But I feel well prepared for the up and coming busy weeks ahead so hopefully I can translate that preparation into some good scores for Poole."

Wednesday's meeting, the first to be staged at Wimborne Road since England's Covid-19 restrictions were lifted, will see Stefan and Rising Star Danyon Hume become the next two beneficiaries of the Rider Equipment Fund, as they are due to receive a cheque for £500 each.

The meeting itself sees the return to the Poole track of two riders who feature in the top 20 all-time Pirates Points scorers, in three-times world champion Jason Crump and former club captain Bjarne Pedersen, who is in second place in that legends table. It will also be a swift return for Zane Keleher who featured in the Pirates last home meeting when he scored paid 6 against Kent. Keleher made his Plymouth debut against Poole last week, romping to a paid 8 return.

But the Pirates will again not be able to offer a debut to their latest signing, Ondřej Smetana and with the seven-day facility for him ended they have drafted in Kyle Bickley as a guest who meets the criteria of a figure 25% below Smetana's assessed average.


Poole - Rory Schlein; Kyle Bickley [G]; Steve Worrall; Stefan Nielsen; Danny King [Capt]; Ben Cook; Danyon Hume - Team manager - Neil Middleditch

Plymouth - Jason Crump [Capt]; Zane Keleher; Zach Cook; Dillon Ruml; Bjarne Pedersen; Alfie Bowtell; Jack Smith - Team manager - Garry May


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