Tigers’ boss staying patient

Telford Tigers’ Head Coach Tom Watkins will play a waiting game before settling on a potentially crucial fifth import for the new EPL season.

Watkins’ summer overhaul of his squad is virtually complete, with newcomers Ondrej Raszka, Doug Clarkson and Michal Satek having already signed.

But with EPL teams allowed an extra import for next year, the Tigers’ chief is still on the lookout for a final addition to his line-up.

He said: “I’ve been talking to some quality guys and a few offers have gone out, but at this stage of the summer it’s a case of time will tell.

“There is still over a month to go until pre-season and now is the time that guys tend to drop down the leagues, so there is a natural filter effect.

“Players get to a point where they know they need a job, which can lead to them coming to the EPL. We have to make sure this is a good place for guys to play.

“There is no point in jumping on the wrong guy just because he is available – we would only end up regretting that.”

Watkins’ typically scientific approach to squad building means he has identified a specific skillset for any new import – albeit with a caveat for flexibility.

He added: “Most of the other teams are finished with their line-ups from what I hear, even if they haven’t announced them yet.

“I’m being quite particular in what I want. I’m looking for a left-handed centreman who is good at face-offs and can play big minutes in key situations.

“But he’s got to contribute at both ends of the ice and most importantly, buy into what we want to do.”

Tigers’ summer changes included the departure of forward Peter Szabo, who scored a mammoth 159 points during his two seasons in Telford.

The Slovakian was a late capture in 2014, ahead of a season when the Tigers went on to dominate both the EPL and British Challenge Cup.

“I’m asking a lot and that is probably why it can get hard to find the right guy,” Watkins said.

“You just have to use Peter as an example. We signed him just a week before pre-season a few years ago and what a great player he turned out to be.

“By taking our time, I think we can bring in someone who could make a real difference for us next season.”

(Image permission: Steve Brodie)

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