Phantoms will be looking for points home and away

Coach Slava Koulikov believes Phantoms are approaching their most important weekend of the English Premier League season to date.

Thursday, 27th October 2016, 3:14 pm
Updated Thursday, 27th October 2016, 5:32 pm
Four-goal Darius Pliskauskas celebrates his final marker with team-mates Marc Levers, James White and Robert Ferrara. Picture: Tom Scott

The eighth-placed city side face two other teams from the bottom half of the English Premier League standings.

They entertain reigning EPL Cup and play-off champions Guildford at Planet Ice on Saturday (7pm) before hitting the road for basement side Bracknell on Sunday (6pm).

Phantoms certainly won’t be short of motivation when hosting the Flames for the first time this season.

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Guildford beat them in the cup final last term and also dumped them out of the play-offs at the semi-final stage.

And the following night’s road-trip sees Phantoms put their proudest winning streak on the line.

They have reeled off 18 successive triumphs against the Bees after dominating the Berkshire side in the last three seasons.

Koulikov said: “The best way to climb the table in any sport is by picking up points against the teams around you – and we have the opportunity to do that this weekend.

“Guildford have had a difficult start after enjoying success last season, but they are a team who can never be taken lightly.

“They have made some changes and they will be determined to get up the table themselves, but our focus is on continuing our good home form.

“We have performed very well on our own ice when beating Swindon and Hull in the last couple of weeks, and we need to ensure that continues.

“And the game in Bracknell on Sunday is simply a must-win. We certainly can’t afford to drop any points to a team below us.

“We have a really good record against Bracknell, but what has happened in the past will not have any bearing on the future.

“Both games also count towards the EPL Cup standings as well and that makes it even more important to pick up good results.”

The results of each team’s first home and away clashes of the season count towards the EPL Cup table

Phantoms currently sit eighth in those standings as well, four points off the top four spot they’ll need to advance to the latter stages.

They could be helped by the return of forward Sam Towner this weekend. The former Hull man has missed five games after being concussed by a hit from Swindon man Max Birbrear in an October 8 clash in Wiltshire.

Fellow forward Connor Glossop and defenceman Tom Stubley continued to be sidelined while defenceman Ben Russell missed the defeat at Telford last Sunday with a groin problem sustained the previous evening.