EPL preview: Russell confident of reaching final

MK Lightning boss Pete Russell is confident his team can reach the EPL Cup final despite opponents Hull Pirates making a significant change to their roster.

The Lightning won the first leg of the semi-final 4-1, but new rules for this season’s competition mean the winner is decided on a points system, regardless of the number of goals scored across the two legs.

The Pirates’ decision to replace netminder Jordan Marr with Czech stopper Vlastimil Lakosil presents Russell with a different challenge, but it’s one he’s looking forward to.

“When every game comes along you try for the full two points and see what happens,” he said.

“We’ll have to come out and play the game we know we can play. This time we’ll be in our own rink with our own fans – we need to play our ‘A’ game and hopefully it’ll be enough.

“In the first leg we played well – we started slowly then in the middle period we came out and played hard and it was all good after that. We’ve got a good record against the Pirates and I fancy our chances this week.

“We’ve got a great group in the dressing room and they want to do this for the fans – we want to give them something to shout about.”

Telford Tigers head to Peterborough Phantoms for the first leg of their semi-final aiming to maintain their chase for success on three fronts.

The Tigers are seven points clear at the top of the league and have already qualified for the play-offs, but Head Coach Tom Watkins admits the Phantoms will be tough opponents.

“In these games – it’s all about who wants it the most – we’ve played almost every game this season like a cup game, so hopefully that will help,” said Watkins.

“We’re battling for the league title and turn up every night and give a good account of ourselves. That is what it takes to win.

“Peterborough is a tough building to go to, and the revised format is strange. For me, a cup is all about the aggregate score.

“But we have just go to get on with it. If we win away, then win at home, we are through, so that is our goal.”

(Image permission: Tony Sargent)

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