Watkins canâ€™t wait for Coventry clash
Tigers chief Tom Watkins will take his EPL champions to face Coventry Blaze tonightâ€“ winners of last seasonâ€™s Elite League play-offs.
The two teams meet at Coventryâ€™s Skydome Arena for the latest encounter in Telfordâ€™s pre-season schedule, with the EPL season just ten days away.
Watkins will be hoping for a more productive run out, following Sundayâ€™s bruising clash with Bracknell Bees in the Red Hockey Cup.
And he expects Coventry to offer an intense examination of his sideâ€™s potential.
He said: â€œGetting ready for Coventry is now our priority for the start of this week. For our guys, it is another level and another speed, so weâ€™ve got to match that.
â€œWe have got to up our level and our intensity against a team like the Blaze. We were a bit sloppy on Sunday night, so weâ€™ve got to make sure we donâ€™t turn the puck over in key areas.
â€œThey are a quality hockey team, having won the Elite League play-offs last season. Any mistakes we make will be punished straight away.â€
The county men trainedÂ twice a dayÂ lastÂ week, alongside sessionsÂ in the gym, in preparation for the defence of their EPL crown and British Challenge Cup title.
Watkins added: â€œPlaying these games is very important, not just for the start of the season, but throughout the year. It means we hit the ground running and that is crucial.
â€œI donâ€™t want the guys to be playing catch-up in the middle of December, just because we didnâ€™t prepare properly. That will damage our long-term prospects.
â€œFitness is always important, so I want to make sure the players have the best possible preparation. Playing Coventry is part of that plan.â€
Following tonight’s game, Telford face Manchester Phoenix this weekend, once again in the Red Hockey Cup.
The home leg is on Saturday night (6pm), before a return meeting at Manchesterâ€™s temporary Deeside home the next evening.