Koulikov glad to be back to the normal routine

Edgars Bebris scored an overtime winner at Bracknell.

Edgars Bebris scored an overtime winner at Bracknell.

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Normal service will be resumed for Phantoms this weekend – and coach Slava Koulikov couldn’t be happier about it.

The city men have negotiated a testing November in which they only faced one game in three successive weekends.

The reduced workload not only added to an already long list of games in hand on the majority of their English Premier League rivals, it also required big changes to the club’s training regime.

So Koulikov is delighted to see fixtures again coming thick and fast during a December which begins with a tough pair of tests this weekend.

Phantoms travel to perennial challengers Guildford on Saturday (6pm) before entertaining Swindon at Planet Ice the following night (5.30pm).

“Some people might think it is easier to have fewer games, but it’s actually quite tough to deal with,” admitted Koulikov.

“I’m happy to see the end of the recent period in which we have only been playing once at the weekend.

“It meant a lot of things had to change from the practice point of view to make sure we went into those games fully prepared.

“The midweek game in Bracknell wasn’t easy either as a lot of the guys had to get time off work to play, but we have managed to come through it with some good results.

“I’m glad to be going back to the normal routine even though we have a very tough weekend ahead with a trip to Guildford and a home game against Swindon, who beat Telford last weekend.”

Phantoms still boast by far the meanest defence in the EPL (they’ve conceded just 51 goals in 21 games) and their goalscoring ability also continues to impress.

They have the best goals-per-game ratio at this level having lit the lamp 90 times and Koulikov is particularly impressed by their ability to go on quick scoring sprees.

They slammed in four goals in the space of nine minutes last weekend to sink Bracknell and recently struck four times in little more than six minutes against Sheffield.

“Statistically across the season so far we have been scoring consistently overall, “ added Koulikov. “But we have also shown that we are capable of putting together very quick spells of scoring.

“That gives us the ability to get back into a game or really put a game at ease depending on the position we are in.

“Compared to last season we are scoring more goals and conceding fewer which puts us in a good position.”

Captain James Ferrara is expected to return this weekend after missing the home clash against Bracknell last Saturday.