EPL preview: Bison ready for big weekend

Basingstoke Bison head into the weekend looking for the two victories which would secure the EPL title.

Bison travel to Telford Tigers on Saturday before returning to home ice to face Swindon Wildcats the following day, and Head Coach Doug Sheppard is expecting two difficult games.

He said: “We’re playing well at the moment and have a full roster which is great. Both games are going to be tough but are against sides we have beaten, but who’ve also beaten us as well.

“We know what we have to do and I hope we can get the job done this weekend.

“The trip to Telford will be tough and then we return to home ice on Sunday to face a Swindon team who on their day can beat anyone, so we have to make sure we are ready for them.”

Tigers have struggled against Bison this season, losing four of their previous five games, and Head Coach Tom Watkins is keen to salvage some pride on Saturday.

“The fact that Basingstoke are chasing the title means they’ll want to collect the points they need against us,” said Watkins.

“Our record against them this season isn’t good enough and that will be a big thing for us.

“Of course, nobody wants to lose to a team that’s going to potentially win the league. They’ve had a good season backed up by some great import netminding.”

Wildcats, who host Peterborough Phantoms on Saturday ahead of Sunday’s trip to Basingstoke, go into the weekend on the back of an impressive midweek performance against MK Lightning.

Carlo Finucci’s hat-trick helped them to a 3-2 success and Player/Coach Aaron Nell is hoping for more of the same in the run up to the play-offs.

“Carlo had a great game – he’s back to the level he was when he first came here,” said Nell.

“His last five games have been unbelievable. If he can carry that on for the rest of the season, we have got a big chance of doing something special.

“If we work hard and work smart, then we’ve always got a chance of winning. When we play good defence, we will get good chances offensively.

“We always know that teams are going to come at us, especially if we are winning a game. If we play smart, we will get those chances.

“It was great. We’ve had problems holding leads and we just stuck to it. We all stuck together, played hard and were unselfish, and that’s important.”

WEEKEND FIXTURES

Saturday

Guildford Flames v Manchester Phoenix
MK Lightning v Hull Pirates
Sheffield Steeldogs v Bracknell Bees
Swindon Wildcats v Peterborough Phantoms
Telford Tigers v Basingstoke Bison

Sunday

Basingstoke Bison v Swindon Wildcats
Bracknell Bees v Peterborough Phantoms
Hull Pirates v Sheffield Steeldogs
Manchester Phoenix v Guildford Flames
Telford Tigers v MK Lightning

(Image permission: Steve Brodie)

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