Tigers fired up for Flames visit
Tigers head coach Tom Watkins has claimed his side can compete with any other team in the league, as he prepares for Sundayâ€™s clash with Guildford Flames.
Telfordâ€™s EPL title defence has taken a turn for the better over recent weeks, with five successive wins lifting them to the verge of fifth place in the standings.
That run was broken by last Sundayâ€™s 2-1 defeat to Manchester Phoenix, as they crashed out of the EPL cup at the round-robin stages â€“ just months after winning the competition.
But Watkins expects his side to continue building the momentum of that winning streak â€“ and take advantage ofÂ their superiority over most teams.
He said: â€œI know people think we stood still in the summer, but that is something I totally disagree with. Guys like Phil Hill are a massive improvement on what we had before.
â€œJoe Graham has been unfortunate with his injury, but the other teams just tend to recycle players. That doesnâ€™t mean those guys arenâ€™t as good, but I havenâ€™t seen any team that I think we canâ€™t compete against.
â€œI went through our games with Barry Hollyhead a few nights ago and weâ€™ve only been outplayed twice this season. That doesnâ€™t always make a result, and weâ€™ve had plenty of chances to win games.
â€œIt comes down to taking those opportunities and if you do that, then it is a very different picture.â€
Telfordâ€™s last encounter with Guildford ended in a narrow 2-1 defeat in Surrey, as the Flames survived a Tigers barrage in front of goal.
Watkins, who welcomed back GB defenceman Jonathan Weaver last weekend,Â is expecting a similar game in Shropshire on Sunday.
He added: â€œGuildford are one of the top teams in the league and to be truthful, it was probably a fifty-fifty game last time. They started very well and we got ourselves back into it later on.
â€œI donâ€™t expect anything different at all. Even the games between us last season were very close and theyâ€™re a quality team, who are capable of winning.
â€œGuildford had a great win over Basingstoke last weekend, so at this level it is a case of who turns up on the day. Our special teams will be very important on Sunday.â€
The Flames are, in fact, a side that Telford will be aiming to overcome in the league standings over coming weeks, with the top four closely bunched together in terms of points.
â€œI think every game has a huge emphasis, as weâ€™re all playing for the same prize, in terms of points,â€ Watkins said.
â€œWe want to keep knocking down our competitors around us, but we need to keep focusing on what we do. Weâ€™re good in some areas, and thereâ€™s other areas where we need to be better.
â€œWe spoke about that a lot with the players during the weekÂ and identified some key areas that I feel were hurting us. The execution of those things is absolutely huge for us.â€
Sundayâ€™s game at Telford Ice Rink, against Guildford Flames, faces off at 6pm. For tickets, go to www.tigershockeyuk.com.