A Peterborough Phantoms derby match fuelled by ‘hate’

Nathan Pollard in action for Phantoms against Swindon. Photo: Tom Scott.
Nathan Pollard in action for Phantoms against Swindon. Photo: Tom Scott.
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Nathan Pollard has set his sights on derby glory to follow up Peterborough Phantoms’ best result of the season.

The forward ace hit the final goal as the city men thumped title favourites Swindon 6-3 at Planet Ice last Sunday night.

Will Weldon should return for Phantoms this weekend.

Will Weldon should return for Phantoms this weekend.

And he is confident they can pick up where they left off when heading to Milton Keynes tomorrow (November 23, 7pm) for a crunch clash against their fierce rivals.

The Buckinghamshire side have endured a tough return to the second tier of the sport after two seasons in the Elite League.

They find themselves languishing second-bottom of the standings and Pollard, who also lit the lamp in Phantoms’ 6-4 loss in Hull last Saturday, hopes to add to their misery.

“We were awesome to a man against Swindon,” reflected Pollard. “We stuck to the gameplan and outworked a top team for the full 60 minutes.

“We knew they would come here fighting and angry after losing at home to Telford on Saturday night, but we didn’t really give them too much of a sniff.

“We were relentless and we’re feeling confident at the moment. We’re scoring a lot of good goals and hopefully that continues.

“It’s never going to be easy going away to MK for a local derby. They get good crowds and will have a lot of people behind them.

“I hate them and I think everyone here does. We always want to beat them and it is always crunch time against them.

“MK are obviously going to be fired up too. They have signed a big player in Liam Stewart recently, who will definitely strengthen them, and also have guys back from injury.

“But we don’t tend to worry about who is on the opposition roster. It’s all about focusing on our own performance, sticking to our tactics and doing the things we’re good at.”

The result of the trip to Milton Keynes and a home clash against Sheffield on Sunday (5.30pm) both count towards the NIHL National Cup as well as the league standings. Phantoms now sit fourth in the NIHL National Division standings – eight points off the pace being set by new leaders Telford.

Forward Will Weldon is back this weekend after missing the last three games while young talent Jarvis Hunt is also expected to return following a lay-off with a shoulder injury.

Short-term capture Gareth O’Flaherty stepped in during the last two weeks and could potentially feature again with Koulikov still pondering whether or not to offer the former Bracknell man an extended deal.

“Gareth has done a really good job for us – especially on the powerplay and the penalty kill,” added Koulikov.

“He is not flashy and plays a simple, but effective game by putting himself in the right places at the right time.

“We’ll chat this week and make a decision about the future.”