EPL preview: Tigers block out play-off fuss

Tom Watkins is confident Telford Tigers will concentrate on matters on the ice, as they bid to move closer to their first silverware of the season this weekend.

Telford, who are seven points clear at the top of the EPL, host Sheffield Steeldogs on Saturday, before Sunday’s cup semi-final second leg against Peterborough.

The Tigers are favourites for both fixtures, but check out the 10Bet referrer code before wagering on any of this weekend’s games.

Despite the threat of expulsion from the play-offs still hanging over the club, Watkins expects his players to continue challenging for honours.

He said: “We just have to stay mentally strong and focus on playing hockey – all that matters is we turn up like we can this weekend and put everything else out of our minds.

“We did that against Peterborough. I think we can play better than we did in the first leg on Wednesday, and I’m sure the guys will turn up and play as hard as they can.

“We approach every game with the same level of importance and we’re judged by how we perform on the ice. I like to think that every time we turn up, home or away, we give a good account of ourselves and try to win games.

“I’ve said to this group on numerous occasions that they’re always in a chance, whether it’s one or two goals. When we’ve been down, we’ve found that extra gear to take the points.”

Hull Pirates’ Player/Coach Dominic Osman believes his team can still claim a top-three finish, despite some indifferent results over recent weeks.

The Pirates are six points behind Saturday’s opponents Peterborough Phantoms with a game in hand and Osman wants his players to keep up the pressure.

“I can’t say where Pirates are going to finish, it’s so tight right now,” he told the Hull Daily Mail.

“I have a feeling third, fourth and fifth will only be separated by a few points. We are still chasing Milton Keynes in second, but we want to make sure we take it a game at a time.

“There’s a lot of hockey to be played and anything is possible from here.”

Basingstoke Bison are just point behind the Phantoms heading into the weekend ahead of Saturday’s home game against Bracknell Bees.

Bison are on a four-game winning streak, but Head Coach Doug Sheppard will not take the lowly Bees lightly.

“Bracknell are fighting to make the play-offs and being a local derby there is bragging rights up for grabs,” he said.

“We want to carry on our winning run and being our only game of the weekend it makes it more important to get the two points, otherwise we will lose ground on the teams around us.”

WEEKEND FIXTURES

Saturday

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

Sunday

Bracknell Bees v MK Lightning
Guildford Flames v Swindon Wildcats
Sheffield Steeldogs v Hull Pirates
Telford Tigers v Peterborough Phantoms (Cup)

(Image permission: Steve Brodie)

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