PETER Schroeck says this week’s double-header against Poole Pirates is Oxford Cheetahs’ ‘biggest test of the season’.

Neil Middleditch’s team travel to Oxford Stadium in the Jubilee League southern section tonight (7.30pm), with the return fixture in Dorset tomorrow evening.

Cheetahs must win both meetings to keep their hopes of reaching the Grand Final alive.

Schroeck’s squad are second in the table, two points behind Pirates, but their opponents have contested one fewer fixture.

Despite slipping to defeats against Poole on home and away shale earlier this season, the Cheetahs coach is optimistic ahead of tapes-up.

“We have to win both meetings, it’s as simple as that,” Schroeck said.

“There are a still plenty of permutations even in our ideal scenario, but beating Poole home and away is essential.

“I believe it’s achievable as well. Our squad has come a long way since we last raced the Pirates in April with the additions of Paul (Starke) and Aaron (Summers), who both have invaluable experience.

“It will be a fantastic spectacle for the fans, both teams are in good form and we hope to see another strong crowd trackside which can really help to make the difference.

“Poole is a speedway town with a proud history and the club is at the heart of its community, so we share a lot of similarities.

“We can’t afford to let any basic errors slip into our game because we will be punished.

“Hopefully we can get the job done tonight and take our efforts to quality for the final down to Dorset tomorrow.”

Cheetahs are at full strength for tonight’s fixture, with seven-times British Champion Scott Nicholls leading the hosts’ charge.

Jack Thomas returns to the squad after recovering from two broken wrists following a fall in June, while Dillon Ruml has returned from international duty at the Speedway of Nations with Team USA.

Schroeck added: “We’re encouraged by Jack’s recovery and look forward to welcoming him back to the team.

“Injuries are part and parcel of speedway, but we’ve been hit by a couple of unfortunate knocks this year at untimely moments.

“Dillon is full of energy after his Speedway of Nations appearance too.

“If we can all click at the same time, then I see no reason why we can’t beat the Pirates by seven or more points.”