Import star Darius Pliskauskas has told his Phantoms team-mates they must be ready to go to ‘war’ in the English Premier League play-offs.
The city side face a demanding run of six games in 12 days at the quarter-final group stage of the end-of-season competition.
Phantoms, who finished the regular campaign in a fine fourth position in the standings, have home and away clashes ahead against league title-winners Telford, reigning play-off champions Guildford and strugglers Sheffield, with the top two sides then advancing to finals weekend in Coventry next month (April 8/9).
And Pliskauskas believes Phantoms are capable of bouncing back from their EPL Cup final disappointment to book their place in the final four.
The Lithuanian international said: “We are all gutted to have been beaten in the cup final two seasons running, but that is now in the past and we must focus on the play-offs.
“There are no easy games in the EPL anymore and every one of them is even tougher in the play-offs. Every game is like war and we have to be ready to play hard.
“Every shift, every period, every game matters. There is lots of pressure but our guys have showed they can handle that.
“Everyone plays this game to try to be successful and win trophies, and the play-offs is the only one left this season.
“Coventry is a great place to play. It is a brilliant weekend with a wonderful atmosphere.
“We have great memories of two years ago and now we want to win the trophy again.
“I believe we are good enough to do that, but the first job is making sure we get there.”
Phantoms’ play-off quest begins when they welcome Sheffield to Planet Ice on Wednesday (March 22, 7.45pm).
Phantoms play-off fixtures
March 22 v Sheffield (home)
March 25 v Telford (away)
March 26 v Guildford (home)
March 29 v Sheffield (away)
April 1 v Telford (home)
April 2 v Guildford (away)
EPL FINAL TABLE
Telford 48 83
MK 48 71
Basingstoke 48 61
PHANTOMS 48 60
Guildford 48 49
Swindon 48 48
Hull 48 42
Sheffield 48 28
Bracknell 48 20