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Pirates: Middlo warns Swindon - we will never give up
NEIL Middleditch is warning Swindon to expect a fierce grand final fight tonight after vowing: “We are the Pirates and we don’t give up.”
The Pirates team boss claimed Robins fans were celebrating wildly after the hosts had opened up an 18-point lead in the first leg at Blunsdon.
But the defending champions spoiled the party by producing a late rally to cut the deficit to seven ahead of the return fixture in Dorset (7.30pm).
And Middleditch is adamant Pirates can complete a miraculous comeback when the league’s two teams lock horns.
He told the Daily Echo: “I said before the meeting that I could live with six to eight points and it is attainable.
“It is going to be tough – we know that – because we have got the best two teams fighting for the title.
“But if we can get in there early and cut back their advantage, hopefully we can push on from there.
“We need to make a strong start or certainly get back on terms with them because we do tend to come strong towards the end of a meeting.
“If we can get back that lead early on, hopefully we can hold them and then pass them in the last few heats.”
Middleditch’s opposite number Alun Rossiter claims Pirates are under pressure because of the 51-44 deficit.
But the Pirates manager, a multiple Elite League winner, suggests there has been a swing in momentum in the play-off tie.
Middleditch said: “Of course there is pressure because we are behind and have got to make it up.
“Swindon, certainly on paper, looked the stronger side and to have an 18-point lead and to lose it at home is not ideal. The Swindon fans were all jumping up and down thinking they had absolutely killed us.
“But we are the Pirates and we don’t give up and we come strong towards the end, and I think most clubs know that too.
“With seven points, I think the boys were delighted. Our heads perhaps dropped a little bit when we were 18 points down but which team wouldn’t do that? I got them together and said we could still get back into the match and we did.”
Pirates will be hoping their new-look bottom three of Ricky Kling, Ludvig Lindgren and Linus Eklof can surpass the paltry six points managed by Kling, Sam Masters and Kyle Howarth at Blunsdon. The trio will be providing support for big guns Darcy Ward, Chris Holder and Krzysztof Kasprzak, who all scored heavily on Monday.