Local lad James White is confident the young and hungry Peterborough Phantoms can compete with English Premier League rivals boasting bigger budgets and more imports next season.
The promising forward has been handed a first full-time contract for 2016-17 by coach Slava Koulikov after rising through the clubs junior and senior structure.
White (19) was first unleashed in a handful of games during the 2014/15 campaign before impressing when icing 38 times and tallying eight points last term as a ‘prospect’ player. That was despite seeing his progress halted by a serious shoulder injury sustained in a pre-season challenge game.
Now, he is relishing the challenge of continuing his personal progress while also doing his bit to ensure Phantoms continue to compete in the upper echelons of the second tier of the sport after finishing fourth and second in the EPL standings in the last two seasons.
But it is a task which appears to have been made a whole lot tougher by a new ruling allowing teams to ice five overseas players. Phantoms have already announced they will stick to four.
White, from Castor, said: “A full-time spot with Phantoms is something I have always wanted and I’m delighted to have been given it after so many years of watching and supporting the team.
“I think the team is going to be successful next season as well. Slava has a plan and no-one should doubt that.
“It’s obviously going to be tough due to the increase of imports, but I feel we can still compete at a high level with the youth and hunger that we have. I believe we can win something.”
White becomes the fourth teenager to be confirmed as part of Phantoms’ roster for next season along with fellow forwards Martins Susters and Connor Glossop, and new defensive recruit Tom Stubley.
Coach Koulikov said: “James’ injury put him back a couple of months last season, but he came back strongly and excelled in certain games.
“With the direction we are taking this season, James will get regular ice time and continue his development into a good British player.
“I want to see healthy competition for places because guys pushing each other will make our team better.”