Hand urges Phoenix to stay focused

Wednesday, 10th January 2007

Manchester Phoenix coach Tony Hand is urging his players to remain focussed as the club embark on four straight away games starting this weekend with a trip to the Hull Stingrays.

Speaking on Tuesday from his Edinburgh home Hand commented, “we’ve had good results recently and got a good little run going, and we want that to continue as we head into these away games. I’ll be talking to the players about retaining their focus on the job in hand and not getting too excited about the last couple of weeks.”

Phoenix travel to Humberside on Saturday before facing Sheffield on Saturday 20th. They follow that with a midweek clash in Nottingham with the Panthers (Tuesday Jan 23rd) before visiting the Belfast Giants on the 27th – the day before the scheduled first home game in the new Altrincham Ice Dome against the Basingstoke Bison.

Hand added, “there have been no easy games this season and there certainly won’t be any from here on in. With only one game each over the next two weekends, we might slip from our current fifth place as other teams play two or more games. But, come February and March we’ll be catching up as our fixture schedule intensifies.”

The Phoenix aim is to ensure qualification to the post-season playoffs and the vastly experienced Scot believes the remainder of the Phoenix fixtures in the bmibaby Elite League can be the springboard for the playoff campaign. “We’ve got a lot of games to play still and over half of them will be in our new arena. I’m hopeful that if we can avoid injuries, that the home-ice advantage will work in our favour and see us secure that post-season berth.”