Danny Rose is relishing the chance of extra responsibility in the heart of Telford Tigers’ defence, as his side prepares for a tricky trip to Sheffield Steeldogs on Saturday.
Rose has been a mainstay of the Telford rearguard this season, following injuries to key defensemen Jonathan Weaver, Joe Graham and Marcus Maynard.
The 21-year-old will once again fill a senior role against the resurgent Steeldogs, with Weaver having suffered a further injury in last Sunday’s EPL win against MK Lightning.
He said: “I’m enjoying my game at the moment, as I’m getting into positions that can help my career and progress me as a player.
“I can do what I need to do and if I get something wrong, then when I get back to the bench Tom (Watkins) or Karl (Creamer), or someone else, will suggest trying it a different way next time. That is really helping me out.
“It’s a good learning curve for me and I’m certainly learning something new every day. Every game, there is something I need to work on and do better with.”
Victory in Yorkshire would see the Tigers keep the pressure on the teams in the top half of the table, while putting further daylight between themselves and the Steeldogs.
Sixth-placed Tigers are five points ahead of the Steeldogs going into the weekend, but the hosts won their most recent meeting 4-2 at the start of January.
“We’ve just got to step up to our roles against Sheffield,” Rose added. “We’ve all got a job to do and the guys know the task is to get two points. That is what we’ll be focusing on.
“If we get in front of the net and take our chances, then it will come for us. It’s scoring the first goal in matches that we have to get over. We just need to focus on our own game.”
Basingstoke Bison face three games in three days as they bid to maintain their lead at the top of the table.
Bison host Swindon Wildcats on Friday, before travelling to Guildford Flames the following day. They complete their weekend with a trip to Swindon to face the Wildcats again on Sunday.
Swindon have a number of players missing on international duty, but Bison boss Doug Sheppard dismissed any thoughts that will make the games any easier.
“Swindon have a strong team with a lot of firepower,” said Sheppard. “Aaron Nell is one of the top scorers in this league and Jonas Hoog is averaging two points a game.
“We have to play a disciplined game for the whole sixty minutes in both games against them this weekend.”
Saturday’s visit to Guildford sees Bison return to the scene of their cup semi-final exit last month.
Flames scored twice in the first six minutes to put the tie beyond Bison, and Sheppard is keen to avoid a repeat performance this weekend.
“Guildford always come out strong from the opening face-off especially in their own building,” he added. “We have to make sure we’re ready for this.”
Basingstoke Bison v Swindon Wildcats
Bracknell Bees v Peterborough Phantoms
Guildford Flames v Basingstoke Bison
Hull Pirates v Manchester Phoenix
MK Lightning v Swindon Wildcats
Sheffield Steeldogs v Telford Tigers
Bracknell Bees v Hull Pirates
Manchester Phoenix v Guildford Flames
Peterborough Phantoms v Sheffield Steeldogs
Swindon Wildcats v Basingstoke Bison
(Image permission: Steve Brodie)