EPL preview: Watkins eager to book Coventry ticket

Telford Tigers’ boss Tom Watkins wants his team to put any thoughts of tiredness behind them this weekend and secure their place in the EPL play-off semi-finals.

The Tigers travel to Peterborough on Saturday on the back of a hard-fought overtime success at Guildford Flames during the week, but Watkins has urged his players to come out firing against the Phantoms.

Watkins said: “For us to go down to Guildford in midweek and win with that pressure on our backs was immense – we did a good job.

“After the game the guys were a tired bunch and nobody got back until three in the morning, so they had a day off yesterday.

“They then had a good skate at lunchtime on Friday, got their legs back under them and I expect them to be raring to go on Saturday.

“Losing our first play-off game wasn’t the ideal way to start, but it wasn’t the end of the world.

“As I said at the time, it was the end of a prolific winning run which saw us play some great hockey.

“We knew after that game what we needed to do, and we still do. It’s a case of going out there and grinding out wins every night.

“You won’t win the league if you’re not prepared to do that. I can’t fault the guys, as they’ve done that all season.”

Slava Koulikov believes the Phantoms can still book their place at Coventry, despite ending the group stage with two tough games.

Peterborough follow up the Telford fixture with a visit to Guildford on Sunday needing to win both games and hope the Tigers or Flames also slip up against Sheffield Steeldogs, but Koulikov isn’t concerned with events elsewhere.

“I said we needed four victories before the play-offs started – we have two now and still have two games to go,” he told Peterborough Today.

“The focus is now on beating Telford and thanking the fans for supporting us all season by entertaining them and getting the right result.

“If we manage that, we’ll go to Guildford looking for two points on Sunday. There are many possible scenarios and things are changing with every game played.

“What happens in other games and in other buildings is out of our control.”

WEEKEND FIXTURES

Friday

Sheffield Steeldogs v Guildford Flames

Saturday

Basingstoke Bison v MK Lightning
Hull Pirates v Swindon Wildcats
Peterborough Phantoms v Telford Tigers

Sunday

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

(Image permission: Lauren Rankin)

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