Phantoms jump into top half and plan to stay there

Peter Stepanek celebrates the second of two goals against the Flames. Picture: Tom Scott
Peter Stepanek celebrates the second of two goals against the Flames. Picture: Tom Scott
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Coach Slava Koulikov insists Phantoms are there to stay in the top half of the English Premier League.

The city club jumped up three places in the standings to fifth after collecting a first four-point weekend of the season.

Koulikov’s men were hugely impressive as they slammed Guildford Flames 5-0 last Saturday night before easing to a 7-4 triumph at basement side Bracknell Bees the following night.

He said: “I’m very happy with the performances, results and every guy who contributed to them.

“We were not worried about the fact that we hadn’t had a four-point weekend before now because we started the season with a really tough set of fixtures, and have then had a lot of guys missing.

“But it is always a good confidence booster to win both games in a weekend as it is not easy in such an unpredictable league.

“The fact we scored a lot of goals in the process and made a big jump in the table makes it even more pleasing.

“The work ethic, the commitment and the togetherness of the guys has been superb at a difficult time with players missing and others soldiering on with knocks.

“Now the job is to maintain our position in the top part of the league. That is the first target for this season.

“We didn’t put this team together to be near the bottom.”

Phantoms’ double-success last weekend came despite a sizable casualty list.

James Archer became the latest concern when being forced out of the final period in Bracknell last Sunday with a knee problem.

The club are still to learn the full extent of that injury and are also awaiting the results of an MRI scan on the shoulder of another summer recruit, Connor Glossop.

He has been out for seven games since picking up the injury in Swindon on October 8.

Fellow forward Sam Towner has not iced since suffering concussion in the same clash against the Wildcats while defenceman Tom Stubley has missed for games since suffering a separated shoulder in an October 16 home game, also against Swindon.

Phantoms are also without Martins Susters again this weekend due to international duty for Latvia Under 20s.

He also missed the win in Bracknell when defenceman Ben Russell dressed, but was not used, following a groin issue.