Bigger crowds are ‘not a surprise’ for Watkins

Tigers coach Tom Watkins is unsurprised to see his squad attract bigger crowds to Telford Ice Rink, as they close in on their second EPL title in three years.

The county men could secure top spot this evening, if they beat Bracknell Bees at home and second-placed Milton Keynes Lightning lose to Swindon Wildcats.

They will have another chance to seal the title in Bracknell tomorrow night, regardless of the Milton Keynes result, should they win both games this weekend.

For Watkins, topping the 1,000+ fans barrier at Telford Ice Rink tonight wouldn’t be a surprise, given the depth of talent within his squad.

He said: “We’ve got a very good hockey team, both collectively and individually. We have some awesome players that all go out and battle extremely hard.

“All these guys are excellent professionals in the way approach the game, they give a good account of who they are every week and they set that tone, that identity we want to play to.

“People coming in to watch that, I’m not surprised. These are very good hockey players, some of the best in the country, so fans coming in to watch that have got a real treat.

“Fans are able to watch a team here week in, week out, go out and to date only lose one game at home. There’s not a lot for people to want any more than that.”

Lifting the EPL crown would top an extraordinary season for Telford Tigers, after a string of players left due to budget cuts in November and December.

Watkins believes team spirit played a key role in lifting his squad into top spot this year – and keeping them there as the campaign draws to a close.

Watkins added: “We have a great team here and the emphasis is on team. There’s great team spirit, good leadership and good honest work ethic.

“We’ll have ups and downs, but it’s all about how you deal with that. You try to take some of the emotion out, give that honest effort, and make sure you go out there and earn it.

“Every team that wins a league, you have to earn it. You need that collective responsibility to maximise your potential within a role in a team.

“I think we deserve to be where we are, we’re a good honest group and we’re standing on the edge of something quiet spectacular.”

Saturday night’s game against Bracknell Bees, at Telford Ice Rink, starts at 6pm. For tickets, go to www.tigershockeyuk.com.

Sunday’s return game in Bracknell also faces off at 6pm.

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