Levelling the field
Kelvin Tatum says without Davey Watt and Darcy Ward, Poole face a tough meet at Belle Vue.
Last Updated: 13/06/11 4:57pm
Belle Vue have been slightly underperforming and will certainly be looking to sort that out on Monday against Poole.
Chris Harris has been their lead rider since his move from Coventry but he is not enjoying the best of seasons; he is not a millions miles away from hitting top form though and at times I think he doubts himself a bit too much.
He did ride well in the British Final and he got to the semi-finals on Saturday in the Copenhagen Grand Prix so maybe he is finding that form.
Belle Vue will be hoping he has because they have some significant injury concerns. Patrick Hougaard is quite influential for the Aces and I think he will be sorely missed. His absence certainly makes them vulnerable, but Poole are missing two riders themselves.
Darcy Ward and Davey Watt will not be lining up for the Pirates and that is going to be a huge blow for them. They will utilise the services of Mads Korneliussen and also have Kyle Newman at reserve in his doubling-up role.
The absence of Ward is a particular problem because he has been in sparkling form this year. Watt may have had one or two poor displays but he has been a pretty steady performer at Elite League level and this is going to hurt them.
Belle Vue has always been a tricky, technical track and one or two of the Pirates may not fancy it.
Track conditions will play a big part and I think it may be on the slick side. The ground staff will be working extremely hard to get the track into some sort of shape after the we weather we've seen in the last few days.
From a personal point of view I had a love-hate relationship with this track. I would go there and get a hatful of points and think I had it cracked, but the next time I would go and hardly get any!
It is difficult and sometimes you get it right and sometimes you get it wrong. Poole manager Neil Middleditch will be hoping his guys get it right.
KELVIN'S CALL: Because of the injuries I think it makes it level pegging going into this meet. If Poole had Ward and Watt then I think they would have been firm favourites but not having them changes everything. I would suggest that maybe the home team will just have the edge but I think it is going to be very close.