Weekend away not ideal preparation

Owen Griffiths was man-of-the-match against Sheffield. Picture: Tom Scott

Owen Griffiths was man-of-the-match against Sheffield. Picture: Tom Scott

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Slava Koulikov admits a marathon weekend on the road is not the ideal preparation for the club’s trophy bid.

Phantoms face back-to-back away clashes in the English Premier League before they can turn their attention to the latter stages of the EPL Cup.

They have a near 250-mile round-trip to Swindon this Saturday before heading to the North-West the following night to take on crisis club Manchester.

It was unclear yesterday whether the clash against rock-bottom Phoenix will take place in Blackpool, where they have been based so far this season, or in Widnes, where they intend to complete the campaign.

Either way, another hefty round-trip of more than 350 miles awaits for Koulikov and his side, who then host Telford in the first leg of their EPL Cup semi-final on Wednesday (January 18, 7.45pm).

Koulikov said: “They are not short journeys and that has an effect on players.

“We will be spending a lot of time sat on the bus this weekend.

“I’ve got plenty of thinking to do in terms of rotating the roster. We have a lot of miles to cover and the fact we have guys missing makes it harder.

“We are competing in the top half of the table and that’s where we want to stay. It is important we try to pick up as many points as possible, but we also have to remember we have the semi-final coming up.”

Phantoms then go to Telford for the second leg of the semi-final showdown on Sunday, January 22. Milton Keynes and Hull contest the other last-four tie.

Phantoms reached the EPL Cup final last season where they were beaten over two legs by Guildford.