HOLDER: SWINDON FAVOURITES
Monday 15th October 2012, 11:02
Poole’s world champion Chris Holder believes “the pressure is on Swindon” in tonight’s Elite League play-off final, first leg and says Pirates start as underdogs.
The Dorset side topped the pre-play-off table, but go into the tie without Polish starlet Piotr Pawlicki. With Ricky Kling, Sam Masters and Kyle Howarth’s scores far from consistent this term, this places a big strain on Poole’s top three Holder, Darcy Ward and Krzysztof Kasprzak.
Swindon are without Aussie battler Jason Doyle for tonight’s opener and Wednesday’s second leg after he crashed at the Premier League Riders Championship in Sheffield on Sunday.
He is replaced by doubling-up partner Sebastian Alden and this could give Pirates a boost.
But Holder doesn’t feel the defending champions start as favourites against a Robins side seeking their first title since 1967.
"The pressure is on Swindon to come through with the goods and theyâ€™re not going to get it given to them. Itâ€™s going to be one hell of a final."
- Chris Holder
He said: “We’ve got to be confident. We finished top again, even though we’ve been up and down with injuries. That says a bit about us. But we know it’s not going to be easy.
“It’ll be the first time for me that Poole have been the underdogs going into the final. The pressure is on Swindon to come through with the goods and they’re not going to get it given to them. It’s going to be one hell of a final – that’s for sure.”
With just six riders in the Poole side, Holder knows his team cannot afford to carry any passengers this week.
He added: “To win we need all six of us to be scoring points. It doesn’t have to be 15 each, but as long as everyone does their job, we’ve got a good chance.
“The pressure has been on the top three guys the whole year and it’s nothing different for us. I just hope the other guys can dig deep and chip in a few extra points. Then we’ll see what happens.”
After his epic SGP title win in Torun on October 6, Holder was relieved to have a week off and only returned to the track in Poland on Sunday, where he scored nine for Torun in their 50-40 bronze medal play-off win at home to Zielona Gora.
The rider admits he needed time to take in the biggest night of his career to date and get focused for the end of the league season.
He said: “I had a week off, which was perfect really. It would have been good to race for Poole on the Monday and Wednesday, but to be honest, I was still coming down from it all.
“I had a bit of extra time with my family. They’ve gone back to Australia now, so I’m back to normal and ready to get back into it.
“After the weekend in Torun, I wished it all would just finish for the year and I could go home and take it easy. But we race in the leagues and you have to keep going.”
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