Phantoms go top and believe they can stay there

Marc Levers scored twice against Sheffield Steeldogs. Picture: Alan Storer

Marc Levers scored twice against Sheffield Steeldogs. Picture: Alan Storer

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Senior player Marc Levers insists the Phantoms squad possess serious belief that they can be crowned English Premier League champions.

The reigning play-off champions rose to the top of the standings thanks to a 6-4 success against Sheffield at Planet Ice last Sunday night.

Former Great Britain international Levers struck twice to help sink the Steeldogs after also finding the net in both games the previous weekend – an overtime defeat to reigning champions Telford and a double-figures destruction of basement boys Hull.

Phantoms leapfrogged previous leaders Basingstoke to take over in pole position by virtue of possessing a better head-to-head record against the Bison. Milton Keynes lie a point back in third, but Phantoms possess games in hand on both of their fellow high-fliers.

Levers said: “I’ve never really been a prolific points-scorer in my career, but I’m ticking over nicely at the moment and hopefully that can continue.

“We made it harder for ourselves against Sheffield than it should have been, but we got the two points and that’s all that really matters.

“We have the ability to hurt teams in good spells and that happened against Sheffield, but we need to cut out the lapses that give opportunities to our opponents.

“We’re obviously over the moon to be top of the league and there is belief that we can stay there.

“We are not going to get too far ahead of ourselves though as there is still a large chunk of the season to come. We had a great team last season and I’m not going to take anything away from that, but this season we have kicked on.

“Slava kept the majority of the guys together and we have built around it. Everyone knows the system, everyone knows what is expected of them and the new guys fitted in superbly.”

But Levers feels Phantoms’ title challenge is not being helped by a run of three successive weekends featuring only one game.

That spell continues with a Sunday trip to Deeside to take on Manchester Phoenix and concludes on November 28 with a home clash against Bracknell.

Attempts to reschedule a recently-postponed away date against the Bees have so far proved unsuccessful.

Levers added: “We’re going to find ourselves in a position with a lot of games in hand.

“I can’t speak for the other guys in the room, but it doesn’t really matter to me whether we are in this position or whether we have points on the board.

“One thing we cannot afford to let happen is for any complacency to creep in due to having games in hand. They still have to be won and we have to do a professional job to get the points.

“I must admit that I don’t really appreciate walking around the shops on a Saturday afternoon and I would much rather be playing twice every weekend.

“Different teams will react differently, but having a run of weekends with only one game will probably hinder us a bit.

“I certainly felt a bit sluggish in the early part of the game last Sunday and took a period to get going. It is not ideal, but it is something we have to learn to deal with.”