Redskins ready for opening day test
6:56pm Thursday 30th August 2012 in Sport
Barry Spours has called for realistic expectations for his Streatham Redskins outfit with the new league season fast approaching, writes Tom Ambrose .
The Redskins finished ninth in the National Ice Hockey League South Division One last season, and they only avoided the drop by beating Slough Jets in a relegation play-off decider.
And, despite seeing plenty of encouraging signs in pre-season training, head coach Spours will not allow himself to get too carried away.
He said: “Training has been going very well. We’ve had a number of sessions and have been improving each time.
“We’ve got some new players this year and they will need time to gel but at the moment things are looking good.”
Redskins played two pre-season friendlies last weekend against Bracknell Hornets, going down 8-4 on Saturday and then narrowly losing 5-4 the next day.
Streatham handed new faces Phil Manny, Dom Hopkins, Eddie Temple, Jamie McIlroy, Joe Allen and Jakub Klima starts in both games, but defensemen Tyrone Miller and Casimir Madren Britton were both unavailable.
Redskins begin their league campaign on September 2 at Romford.
Boss Spours used the two friendlies as opportunities to give all of his squad some time on the ice.
He said: “It’s great that we’ve played a team of Bracknell’s quality as it is a measure of where we’re at.
“There’s no point just thrashing some lower division side – I wanted the lads to be put to the test.
“We had a large bench which enabled us to switch guys around.”
On the south London side’s chances of league success, Spours remains optimistic while realistic.
He said: “All the teams in our league have improved. I’m quietly confident but we need to be realistic.
“The league is as strong as ever. Chelmsford will do well, Wightlink will be a threat as always and Romford look a solid outfit.
“We’re aiming for the top half and would consider it to be a successful season if we can finish in fifth.”