SWINDON Robins’ new reserve James Shanes says he wants to use this season as a chance to prove people wrong about his Poole exit.

The 22-year-old enjoyed an encouraging first season at the Pirates in 2017, but found the going much tougher in his second season and was axed from the Poole line-up midway through the campaign.

Now part of Alun Rossiter’s Swindon side, Shanes is optimistic of a return to the top form he was hitting at Sheffield Tigers in the Championship last year.

Shanes said: “I just want to keep improving my average – I had a bit of a funny season last year with Poole and I’m hoping that I can prove to a lot of people that I shouldn’t have left Poole.

“If I can get out of reserve then brilliant, if I can’t, then I just want to improve my average a little bit more.”

The current British Masters and European grass-track champion was set to make his home debut this evening, but with the track not quite ready for it’s unveiling, Shanes will have to wait a week to prove his worth in front of the Abbey Stadium faithful.

And as much as he is itching to get going, the 22-year-old understood the decision to postpone Thursday's meeting against Belle Vue Aces.

He said: “It’s a little bit annoying because obviously I want to get back out on the bike and get going.

"But I know Terry (Russell, chairman) and everyone at Swindon have the best interests of the riders and the track at heart.

“The track looks like it’s shaping up really well and hopefully, when they’ve done the last few bits that need to be done, it’ll be a proper racetrack.”

The Robins are widely tipped as having one of the strongest teams of the seven SGB Premiership clubs this season, with their young partnership at reserve potentially proving vital in a bid to regain their league crown.

Shanes believes the 2019 Robins have all the makings of a title-winning side and is hoping he can dovetail nicely with fellow reserve Zach Wajtknecht to claim crucial heat wins.

He said: “It’s a very strong team on paper and I’ve seen a couple of people say we’re in the running for the league – I hope that will become true.

“We’ve got Doyley (Jason Doyle) as number one and he’s one of the best riders in the league.

“If me and Zach (Wajtknecht) can keep working together, like we have for Birmingham, then hopefully we’ll become quite a strong pairing at reserve.

“The middle order is very strong too with a lot of experience in there – it’s definitely looking exciting for the season.”