Tigers face testing couple of weeks

Telford Tigers’ boss Tom Watkins believes the next couple of weekends could have a big impact on the end-of-season shake-up in the EPL.

The Tigers currently lead the standings by three points from MK Lightning, with Hull Pirates a further four points adrift in third spot.

Watkins takes his team to Hull on Saturday, before heading south to face Guildford Flames the following day.

With a weekend double-header against Lightning to follow, Watkins admits the season is beginning to hot up.

“Every game is worth two points so they’re all important, but when you’re playing your rivals it does mean a bit more,” he said. “In terms of head-to-head records at the end of the season, they’re very important.

“We haven’t played Hull yet in the league and you can’t really take anything from the pre-season games. They’ve made a very impressive start, having recruited well over the summer.

“We’ll have to be at our best to get anything from either game this weekend.”

Wednesday night’s 3-2 shoot-out win over Guildford also took Telford through to the last four of the EPL Cup, a competition they won alongside the league title two years ago.

Watkins added: “The guys deserve to be in the semi-final of the cup. We’ve got a great bunch this season and they’ve all bought into what we’re doing.

“They compete hard for each other and during the second period on Wednesday night, there was a huge collective effort from everyone.

“The guys all went the extra stride, keeping pucks in, knocking pucks off sticks and doing whatever it took for each other.

“It was excellent to watch and I think that period was probably the best we have played all season.”

Telford will again be without forward Joe Miller this weekend, after he suffered a concussion against Lightning earlier this month.

Miller missed the start of the season with a hamstring injury, but Watkins is in no hurry to bring him back early.

“Joe has been very unlucky with injuries this season,” he said.

“The concussion happened during the Milton Keynes game, when Joe was blindsided by an elbow to the head, in front of the official, but no call was made.

“We just need to manage things well now, or it could hurt him all season. He’ll take a few weeks to let the symptoms settle and then slowly return.”

(Image permission: Steve Brodie)

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