Watkins expects tactical battle with the Phantoms

Telford Tigers coach Tom Watkins (PHOTO: Steve Brodie)

Tom Watkins will keep his tactical cards close to his chest, as he prepares for the visit of Peterborough Phantoms to Telford on Sunday.

The two teams have met three times since the turn of the year, with the Tigers holding the upper hand after winning twice at home.

Those games will have given the Tigers a key insight into the threat posed by Peterborough, as they prepare for their only EPL game of the weekend.

But with Phantoms’ boss Slava Koulikov also highly regarded for his tactical approach, Watkins is expecting a tightly-fought encounter.

He said: “It works both ways and they will know more about us. You get to know the other team’s tendencies, but every team has a few wrinkles up their sleeve, a few things they change to make subtle differences.

“Against any team in this league, if you don’t play hard you will come unstuck. We have go to find a way that if we’re not playing well we can turn a corner, which we have managed to do.

“Peterborough are a tough team – they’ve had a good season and are well coached, so we’ve got to be mindful of our own performances, more than anything.”

That familiarity between the two sides could see both coaches make changes to their approach on Sunday – but Watkins refused to reveal his plans.

He added: “I like the look of where we are and how our team lines up, but you never know what’s going to happen from now until then, and where we can make some differences to the team.

“It’s just day-by-day and you can change it shift by shift now and again, to see what adjustments you can make and how you can affect the game.

“But we’re pretty settled and have played the same group and lines for some time.”

Victory will take the Tigers a step closer to the title, with just four wins currently separating them from their second championship in three years.

But the Telford chief will give that prospect little thought ahead of Sunday’s game.

“The approach is still game-by-game and day-by-day,” Watkins said.

“I’m disappointed that we’ve got a day off on Saturday, as playing would have kept us in the groove. But I expect everybody to be mentally ready for Sunday, physically ready and come out hard.

“We’re at home, we’ve got an opportunity to chase something, so we need to be keen to play with some impetus and play the right way.”

(Image permission: Steve Brodie)

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