Phantoms chief Slava is ruled out for several weeks

Slava Koulikov has broken his wrist. PICTURE: ALAN STORER. ENGEMN00120141201204037
Slava Koulikov has broken his wrist. PICTURE: ALAN STORER. ENGEMN00120141201204037
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Phantoms chief Slava Koulikov faces several weeks out of action after suffering a fractured wrist.

The 36 year-old was hurt when blocking a shot during the city club’s memorable 4-3 derby triumph at fierce rivals Milton Keynes last Saturday.

It is still unclear whether or not he will need to undergo surgery, but Koulikov faces a lengthy spell directing operations from the bench alongside father and coaching consultant Oleksandr rather than on the ice.

He admitted: “I was in a bit of pain last Saturday night so got checked out the following morning when they confirmed there was a fracture.

“I went back to hospital on Tuesday, but they are still not sure at this stage whether or not I will need an operation.

“There is never a good time to be out injured, but it could have been worse given there are plenty of cup games coming up in December and January that I’m not eligible to play in.

“It is very different coaching from the bench than when you are out on the ice. I did it a few times at Slough and in the first weekend when I came to Peterborough.

“When not playing I can make decisions with a fresh mind rather than a tired one.”

Koulikov’s injury was the downside of a fifth away victory of the season as a dramatic late winner from captain James Ferrara inside the final minute put Milton Keynes to the sword.

Phantoms were beaten 7-4 by runaway English Premier League leaders Telford in a top-of-the-table clash the following night as they completed a demanding run of away fixtures.

Five of the club’s last six outings having been on the road and Phantoms have emerged from that spell in possession of eight valuable points to move into second spot in the English Premier League standings.

Koulikov added: “I’m very pleased with the points we have picked up during a very tough run of games.

“We are in a very decent situation but we need to ensure we continue performing to the levels we have done so far this season.

“You only have to look at our fixtures this weekend against two of last season’s trophy-winners to see things are not getting any easier.”

Phantoms made a welcome return to Planet Ice with back-to-back home games as they entertain reigning league champions Manchester tomorrow (November 29, 7pm) and then host play-off kings Basingstoke on Sunday (5.30pm) in a second-versus-third clash.