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Double-figure advantage the aim for Rossiter
ROBINS boss Alun Rossiter wants to take at least a 10-point lead into the second leg of his side’s play-off clash with Poole to avoid the ‘squeaky bum time’ he had to endure when the two teams met in last year’s final.
The Pirates visit Blunsdon tonight in the first leg of the semi-final clash, just as they did a year ago when tactical victories from Chris Holder and Darcy Ward quickly turned the Robins’ vast 18-point advantage into a narrow seven-point lead going into the return at Wimborne Road.
Rossiter’s side managed to hold onto their lead 12 months ago to secure their first top flight title for 45 years, but the Robins boss would much prefer his team to make life easier for themselves this time around.
“They all know what it takes and they know what they have to do to deliver, and I’m confident we can do it,” he said.
“We need to do what we did last year but not then go to sleep during the second half of the meeting, and if you hit Poole hard early that is the key and you then need to be ready when they come back.
“We know what they can do with their tactical rides and there can be no sleeping and no messing around on our part because we have to show all our hunger and passion.
“I would love a 10-point lead or more, and I would feel a lot more comfortable with that because it was squeaky bottom time when we went there with seven points.
“We won last time with a seven-point lead but it would be great to go there with more of an advantage.”
Rossiter admitted he and his riders may have taken things a little easy over the final few weeks of the season with their play-off place never really in doubt, but the former Poole captain is expecting them to step it up a gear now the business end of the season has arrived.
“I’m quite calm but I think when it gets closer on Monday that will change a little bit,” he said.
“I think we will be more focussed and in a different mindset, because maybe we have been a bit casual because we knew we were in quite a while ago.
“Don’t get me wrong, we haven’t been doing really badly, but this is a semi-final and anything can happen. They will be hungry for this and I’m sure Matt (Ford, Poole promoter) has got them up for it and maybe given them incentives.
“Most of the guys are finished abroad and I think that’s been quite good and meant they are not distracted, and for most of our riders this is the chance for them to actually win something this season.”
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