Finns boost Pirates’ hopes

Hull Pirates Player/Coach Dominic Osman believes Finnish firepower can prove decisive for his team this season.

Tommi Laine and Pasi Salonen (above) were signed to bolster the club’s forward lines in the wake of Pirates’ poor start to the EPL campaign. Laine replaced defenceman Jan Platil in September, while last month’s exit of forward Mario Mjelleli brought the arrival of Salonen.

Last weekend the pair really sprang to life in goalscoring terms, Salonen netting a hat-trick and Laine once in Pirates’ 5-4 defeat to Sheffield Steeldogs.

“The team changes we made are starting to pay off, and that’s a good feeling,” said Osman. “Since we brought Tommi in he has been amazing, he has fitted in really well.

“He and Pasi needed to learn how to adjust to our team and league and each other and they have gelled. That gives us an opportunity to get some wins and that’s why we wanted to make the changes.”

Ahead of Saturday’s home clash with Manchester Phoenix and Sunday’s visit to Peterborough, Pirates sit bottom of the EPL. They are by far the league’s lowest scorers, having netted only 27 times in 14 league matches.

However, only twice in the last 10 games have they lost by more than two goals, justifying Osman’s optimism that the team – formed only in July – is “right there” in terms of potential.

“We know we are in games now,” he said. “I believe teams will start to fear us a little offensively so know they can’t afford to take chances with us, otherwise they’ll get bit and that’s good.

“We are not spending as much time in our defensive zone, and when we do we are keeping the opposition shots to the outside. We are improving every day and it’s a really good feeling.”

Osman also confirmed that forward Craig Thurston has been released by the club.

(Image permission: Arthur Foster)

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