Everything going according to plan says the skipper

James Ferrara in action against Telford Tigers. Picture: Alan Storer

James Ferrara in action against Telford Tigers. Picture: Alan Storer

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The foundations are already in place - now it is time for Phantoms to start building a genuine title challenge.

That is the view of captain James Ferrara who has declared himself delighted with a fine start to the new English Premier League campaign – one he is confident they can build on in the coming weeks and months.

Phantoms sit second in the standings, two points off top spot and with two games in hand on leaders Milton Keynes after losing only two of their 12 games to date in regulation time.

They are also third in the EPL Cup standings with the first home and away results against each team counting towards those standings.

Ferrara said: “We would certainly have taken our current record and league position had we been offered it ahead of the season.

“Our objectives were to start well in the league and also get the results required to advance to the latter stages of the cup. Both of those things are going according to plan so far.

“It was massively important to hit the ground running after the success of last season. “You only have to look at Chelsea to see there can be a lull after a title or trophy win and we couldn’t let that happen.

“Keeping the majority of the team that won the play-offs together was key as it ensured the belief was also retained.

“It is not realistic to expect to win six games out of six against every team, but the challenge is to try to win each series and, if we manage that, we will be in a good place.

“I have no doubt we possess the quality and personnel to keep moving forward as we get into what is the long haul of the season.

“Everyone is now up to speed and into the swing of playing twice a weekend and we have a lot of hard games ahead of us.

“We’re second in the table at the moment with games in hand. The challenge now is ensure we maintain this position past Christmas and into the new year.

“The goal has always been to kick on from the fourth place of last season and that hasn’t changed.”

The normally mild-mannered Ferrara unusually found himself in hot water with officials on successive nights last weekend.

He picked up a 10-minute misconduct penalty towards the end of the opening period in a 6-4 success in Sheffield last Saturday night before having an identical punishment meted out in the closing stages of the loss at the hands of Telford 24 hours later.

Ferrara added: “The penalty on Saturday was completely unjustified and I actually received an apology from the referee after the game.

“A comment was made and he wrongly believed it came from me.

“The refereeing was dreadful on Sunday against Telford and it got to the point where the referee needed to be told.

“There is a lesson to myself and all the guys in that we need to keep our emotion on a level even when bad calls are going against us.”