EPL preview: Sheppard wants Bison to bounce back

Basingstoke Bison boss Doug Sheppard has demanded an immediate response from the reigning EPL champions after seeing them lose their opening two games of the season.

Bison crashed 4-1 at home to Telford Tigers last Saturday, before falling 4-2 at Hull Pirates the following day, and Sheppard is keen to see his team bounce back against Bracknell Bees and Peterborough Phantoms this weekend.

“We played better in Hull than against Telford, but only for the first 20 minutes – we have to get back to working hard and getting our intensity back,” said Sheppard.

“Bracknell have beaten us every year and will be looking to do this again on Saturday. We have to be make sure we play to our full ability.”

“Peterborough is always a tough place to go, but we have won there in the past and will hope to do it again.”

Swindon Wildcats are also on a recovery mission after last week’s defeats against Guildford Flames and the Phantoms.

Wildcats lost by the odd goal in seven at home to the Flames, but followed up with a dismal showing in Peterborough, falling to a 6-1 loss.

They host Manchester Phoenix on Saturday, before visiting the Pirates the following day, and Player/Coach Aaron Nell wants a positive reaction from his players.

“We had a few positives, but not enough,” said Nell. “We’ve just got to come back, be tighter and work our way out of it.

“It’s one week in – two games in. We’ve all got to give more and we’ll be successful. We’re not a bad team – we showed that on Saturday night.

“Everything’s not going to be perfect because we were playing against two good teams, but when we make mistakes we can’t keep on making them.”

The Phantoms will hope to build on their display against the Wildcats when they face big rivals MK Lightning on Saturday.

After losing a number of key players during the summer, last year’s runners-up were written off as title contenders this time around, but forward Will Weldon believes they are capable of surprising a few people.

“There are a lot of good teams in this league and plenty of them will think they are in with a shout of the title,” he told Peterborough Today.

“People might well see us as outsiders this year, but we don’t have a problem with that.

“We’ll just concentrate on picking up the results and hopefully get ourselves into the mix at the end of the season.”

WEEKEND FIXTURES

Saturday

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

Sunday

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

(Image permission: Grant King)

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