Watkins: Youngsters must step up to the plate

Telford Tigers’ Head Coach Tom Watkins has urged his young players to make the most of increased playing time when they host Hull Pirates on Sunday.

Last weekend’s EPL title victory means Watkins can afford to give his youngsters extra ice time, as preparations for the play-offs step up a gear.

But with an eleven-game winning run to protect, he will demand a continuation of that title-winning form.

He said: “At this time of the year there are more chances for young players to get ice time, but they have to grasp those opportunities when they come along.

“They’ve got to earn those chances. They have to come into work, into practice, not quit on drills or take the lazy option.

“Everything needs to be done at 100 percent intensity and with full commitment to the team.

Hull could be one of those teams that Telford face in the play-offs, with a number of permutations still to be played out over coming weeks.

But Watkins has already planned ahead for any variation of the two four-team quarter-final groups.

“I’m looking of course, but I’m not paying a huge amount of attention to specific teams. We’ve got video from throughout the season so we’re prepared,” he added.

“There isn’t a huge amount of time to prepare, but we’re now looking ahead a game every week, which is not something we would normally do.

“There is a lot of planning for the play-offs. With the title in the bag, we want to keep this streak going.

“The guys are on a good roll, they’re playing good hockey and even when they’re not, they’re doing enough to win. We want to keep that going until the end of the year.

“We’ve still got goals to aim for and we owe it to the fans to work hard and keep our good habits. We’re still in the middle of a very busy season.”

(Image permission: Steve Brodie)

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