Tigers set for key weekend in league and EPL Cup

Tigers coach Tom Watkins is confident his side will concentrate on matters ‘on the ice’, as they bid to move closer to their first silverware of the season this weekend.

Telford, who are seven points clear at the top of the EPL, host Sheffield Steeldogs on Saturday, before Sunday’s EPL Cup semi-final (second leg) against Peterborough.

But despite the threat of expulsion from the play-offs – following financial problems last year – still hanging over the club, Watkins expects his players to continue challenging for honours.

He said: “We just have to stay mentally strong and focus on playing hockey. All that matters is we turn up like we can this weekend and put everything else out of our minds.

“We did that against Peterborough. I think we can play better than we did in the first leg on Wednesday, and I am sure the guys will turn up and play as hard as they can.

“We approach every game with the same level of importance and we’re judged by how we perform on the ice. I like to think that every time we turn up, home or away, we give a good account of ourselves and try to win games.

“I’ve said to this group on numerous occasions that they’re always in a chance, whether it’s one or two goals. When we’ve been down, we’ve found that extra gear to take the points.”

Telford need to beat Peterborough on Sunday to stand a chance of reaching next month’s final against Milton Keynes, following defeat at Bretton Road in the first leg on Wednesday.

But first they must return to winning ways in the league, with Saturday’s visit of Sheffield offering an opportunity to retain their lead at the top of the standings.

Watkins added: “It’s two points and as you get closer to a chance to be involved in the shake-up, everything amps up. It’s always a little but more important than the last one.

“It is a lot of fun to be where we are. There are teams below us who are just settled with where they are in the play-offs, but when you’re in this position, it’s exciting. It’s fun to come to training and make sure that we’re prepared.”

Both of this weekend’s games, at Telford Ice Rink, face off at 6pm. For tickets, go to www.tigershockeyuk.com.

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