Swindon Player/Coach Aaron Nell has urged the Wildcats to finish the regular season strongly in order to give themselves a favourable draw in the play-offs.
With 20 games still to play the Wildcats lie seventh in the EPL table, but with just nine points between themselves and Saturday’s opponents Peterborough Phantoms in third place Nell believes a top half finish is still achievable.
“The top two teams are gone, but Peterborough are third and we’ve got two games left against them this season and both are at home,” he told the Swindon Advertiser.
“We need to be ready as they are very difficult to play against – they play a style that gets them a lot of wins.
“They work hard, they’re well coached and they’re in an awful lot of games.
“They’ve got a very good goalkeeper in Janis Auzins too – so we don’t need to worry about scoring the pretty goals, we need to make sure we score the ugly goals.”
Peterborough boss Slava Koulikov admits a weekend on the road is not the ideal preparation for next Wednesday’s EPL Cup semi-final tie against Telford Tigers.
The Phantoms follow up their visit to Swindon with a trip to face Manchester Phoenix on Sunday and Koulikov admits he’s worried about the impact the weekend will have on his team.
“They’re not short journeys and that has an effect on players – we’ll be spending a lot of time sat on the bus this weekend,” Koulikov told Peterborough Today.
“I’ve got plenty of thinking to do in terms of rotating the roster. We have a lot of miles to cover and the fact we have guys missing makes it harder.
“We are competing in the top half of the table and that’s where we want to stay. It’s important we try to pick up as many points as possible, but we also have to remember we have the semi-final coming up.”
Basingstoke Bison host Sheffield Steeldogs on Saturday before heading north to face leaders Telford Tigers on Sunday, and will go into the games full of confidence after picking up four points last weekend.
Bison are currently eight points behind second-placed MK Lightning, but Head Coach Doug Sheppard believes his team can close the gap in the run-up to the play-offs.
“Sheffield are a tough team to beat and we have to keep a watchful eye on (Arnoldas) Bosas,” said Sheppard.
“I feel if we play as well as can we’re a match for any team in this league. We showed signs last week of what we can do and I hope this continues.
“We’ve played two solid games at Telford so far this season and come away with nothing. I hope we can change that this time, but we know it’s going to be a big test.”
Basingstoke Bison v Sheffield Steeldogs
Bracknell Bees v Telford Tigers
Guildford Flames v Manchester Phoenix
MK Lightning v Hull Pirates
Swindon Wildcats v Peterborough Phantoms
Hull Pirates v Bracknell Bees
Manchester Phoenix v Peterborough Phantoms
Sheffield Steeldogs v Swindon Wildcats
Telford Tigers v Basingstoke Bison
(Image permission: Steve Bird)