Top two to clash

MANCHESTER, UK – TONY Hand believes Manchester Phoenix possess enough firepower to knock Basingstoke Bison off top spot this weekend. Separated by goal difference the two sides meet for the third time this season on Sunday (5.30pm). Phoenix have lost both matches but after a shaky start have found their feet with all lines contributing. Hand, Joachim Flatten and the club’s top scorer Michal Psurny have 84 points between them whilst the likes of James Archer, Andy McKinney and Scott McKenzie are taking the pressure off. And they will have to be at their best to beat the meanest defence in the competition. Basingstoke’s Steve Lyle has a save percentage of 93.91 and has conceded just 36 in 19 matches. Phoenix have let in 21 more and their inability to defended consistently allowed Swindon to come back from 4-0 down last weekend. “Bison are a well balanced team and we will have to be at our best against them,” Hand said. “They have a mean defence but we are scoring goals and there is no reason why we cannot continue our home run with a win. “We suffered last week with injuries to Stephen Fone and Ondrej Pozivil but they are both responding to treatment and hopefully we will have a full squad for the weekend games.” Phoenix also travel to Swindon Wildcats once more on Saturday (5.45pm) – just six days after they beat them 5-4 in overtime. To contact the author emai l: Mike.Appleton@prohockeynews.com

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