Phoenix to make it count?

Manchester PhoenixMANCHESTER, UK – MANCHESTER Phoenix will have to make their only game of the weekend count if they want to stay on the coattails of Guildford Flames.

They host Basingstoke Bison on Sunday (5.30pm) as they bid to close the two-point gap at the top of the table.

Phoenix will be at full strength for the contest whilst their opponents have former Slough Jets’ forward Michael Wales in the line-up.

He replaces winger Tim Burrows who moved on to pursue a career outside the sport.

This will be the second match in the six-game league series with the Bison having won the first encounter in Basingstoke by 4-2.

But the game will also take on added significance as it will count towards cup qualification.

Both teams made the semi finals but a win for Phoenix would guarantee first or second place and a home second leg in the semi finals.

Phoenix Player-Coach Tony Hand said: “It is important to take points every weekend and with this being our only game, we must look to winning it.

“Bison have quality throughout their roster, but we are formidable at home and a match for any side and we will be well prepared for the game.”

Meanwhile, after last weekend’s loss to Guildford Hand admitted he is looking to bring in new faces.

“I thought we battled hard for two periods and had chances to take the game,” he said. “Then we lost a couple of soft goals in the third and it was always going to be difficult after that.

“All credit to Guildford; they are a very good side, especially in their own rink. I will talk to owner Neil Morris to see if there is anything we can do to improve the squad in a couple of positions.”

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