Stars receive a boost !!!
Ultimate Windows sponsored Billingham Stars will be looking to rebound from last weekends disappointing defeats at the hands of Solway Sharks and Blackburn Hawks. The Stars had a horrendous weekend for injuries that saw their lines reshuffled beyond recognition.
The Stars face another double weekend test away at Sheffield on Saturday Â afternoon (16:30 face off) then return to home derby game Â against an improving Whitley Warriors at the Forum Ice Arena on Sunday night (18:30 face off).
Both Sheffield and Whitley have recently taken points of league leaders the Solway Sharks and Billingham must find their earlier season form to retain their second place as both third placed Sutton and fourth placed Blackburn can catch the Stars this weekend.
Stars have shown signs this week of re-strengthening; Dave Thomas made a welcome return to training, but will not be available this weekend. The club have also been in talks this week with Jamie Pattison and it is hoped he will be available for the derby game.
Marty Davies, Ben Davison and Michael Elder will not ice at Ice Sheffield but Stephen Wallace, Cal Davies, Paul Windridge and Andy Munroe will be available.
Player coach Michael Bowman will still need to adjust his lines, however the return of Cal Davies and Stephen Wallace should give Bowmanâ€™s strike power a massive lift.
Tonightâ€™s opponents at Ice Sheffield the Spartans have drawn one, won one and lost one in their last three outings with the talking point of their season to date being their 3-2 defeat of league leaders Solway Sharks between Christmas and the New Year.
Making the short trip down the A19 tomorrow night the Whitley Warriors have drawn two and lost one in their last three outings, the Warriors became the latest side to take points of the league leading Solway Sharks as the Tynesider`s battled back to secure a 2-2 draw at Hillheads last weekend.
The Stars have ran out winners on both occasions that they have played the Spartans with a 4 -1 win in September and a 3-2 victory early in December.
Tyne Tees derby honours have been shared so far this season with Whitley claiming the spoils in a 3 â€“ 2 win last September before a memorable game at Billingham Forum that saw the Stars come back from being 3-1 down in the third to win 4 â€“ 3 with Richie Thornton blasting home the winner with four seconds on the clock.
Stars Manager Allen Flavell is confident that the Stars situation is improving after the problems of last weekend;
â€œLast weekend was so disappointing but I donâ€™t think we need to panic. We were decimated due largely to injuries the last thing you need when you play the current top two performing clubs in the league, last weekend is behind us and we must take it one game at a timeâ€.
â€œDisappointing as it was it will make getting back to winning ways even more special, we aim to see the return of some of those key players from injury and Dave Thomas makes a welcome return to our bench and blue line, so sit tight its far from overâ€.
â€œThe Club is also actively looking to bring in some more talent but itâ€™s not as easy as you might think and as with everything we have a limited budget â€œ.
â€œWe have had talks with East European agents, but as you would appreciate taking the word of an agent regarding the quality of a player, when you need that player yesterday, can be a considerable gambleâ€.
â€œIts been said by all coaches that have been interviewed this year, this league is on the up, itâ€™s the most exciting it has ever been and the coming months will see some intense competition as six clubs do battle to secure four play off slotsâ€.
Tickets for tomorrow nightâ€™s game go on sale at the Billingham Forum Ice Arena box office from 17:30 priced Adults Â£7.50, Concessions Â£5, Family Â£22 (2+2).