EPL preview: Lightning’s toughness helping in big games

MK Lightning boss Pete Russell believes his team’s ability to deal with intimidation is serving them well as they continue to chase EPL leaders Telford Tigers.

Lightning are currently eight points behind the Tigers with two games in hand and Russell thinks last week’s 2-0 victory over Basingstoke Bison proved their title credentials.

“The game was packed with passion and emotion from both teams – it had a little bit of everything and we were delighted,” he told the club’s official website.

“Last year we were sometimes intimidated in some big games and it took us off our game. So far that’s not an issue and our team toughness is there for all to see.

“We move into a new week and new challenges ahead – another two tough games ahead against Sheffield Steeldogs and Hull Pirates.

“We will work hard this week and aim to be ready to pull out a high level of performance in both games. Every weekend is exciting and the whole league is exciting.”

The Steeldogs head to Milton Keynes aiming to snap a long losing streak before Sunday’s visit to Manchester Phoenix.

Wednesday’s 6-3 home loss against Telford was their eighth defeat in a row, but defender Tim Smith believes the team are capable of turning things around.

“We’ve gone through a rough period over the last few weeks but we all want to be here, playing for each other and battling,” he told the Sheffield Star.

“You’ll not find a tighter bunch of lads, a strong group of friends and teammates. We have a lot of character but we have to turn this into wins.

“We have to turn the screw and kick on from the positives and nullify the errors. There’s no reason why we can’t get back to winning ways.”

Swindon Wildcats’ Player/Coach Aaron Nell has called on his team to remember they don’t like Telford ahead of Saturday’s home game against the Tigers.

The Wildcats have lost two of their three meetings so far this season, with Nell particularly angry about his team’s performance during their recent 6-0 defeat at Telford.

“We don’t like Telford and I think we took a step back from not liking Telford because some people felt sorry for them – we do not like Telford,” he told Total Swindon.

“We haven’t liked Telford for the last few years – we are the only team that has been succesful against Telford, because we don’t like them.

“We need to get that determination and balls about our game back.”

WEEKEND FIXTURES

Saturday

Basingstoke Bison v Guildford Flames
MK Lightning v Sheffield Steeldogs
Swindon Wildcats v Telford Tigers

Sunday

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

(Image permission: Tony Sargent)

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